What You Need to Know About Periodontal Diagnosis

Periodontal or gum disease is a common problem that is experienced by most people all over the world. Most forms of this illness are caused by poor dental health. Gum disease can be diagnosed by your family dentist in a periodontal examination. This dental exam must always be included in your frequent dental checkups. Read on to understand more about the periodontal diagnosis.


Gum disease mainly occurs when people neglect their dental health. Usually, a sticky substance will develop in the mouth and with time results in the buildup of tartar or plaque. Plaque buildup results in acid that eats up the gums and teeth resulting in open spaces between them. Plaque tends to corrode the gums leaving space pockets that foster the growth of bacteria. These bacteria then cause infection over time resulting in sensitive or loose teeth.


Periodontal disease is usually diagnosed using radiographic and clinical examinations. The major purpose of these two forms of diagnosis is to determine the amount of tartar or plaque that has built up in the mouth. This helps in identifying the best method of treatment that the patient will require.

Clinical diagnosis

In clinical diagnosis, a probe is used in measuring the gums. The dentist will probe your gum and take measurements. Pocket depths that range from one to three are considered as being normal. However, measurements that are more than 3 millimeters are an indication of gum disease. Visual examinations can also reveal bleeding gums, or red, swollen, puffy gums.

Dental X-Rays

After the depths of the pockets have been determined, your dentist will recommend an X-ray to determine the extent of bone loss. Bone loss is usually an indication of a highly developed periodontitis stage. The dentist will need a picture of all your teeth or a series of x-rays showing your full mouth. This helps in documenting the exact bone that is around all your teeth. Usually, the loss of bones can be vertical, horizontal or a combination. Depending on the severity of the infection, gum disease can be classified into gingivitis and periodontitis.


This is usually a mild form of periodontal disease and is characterized by inflammation of gum tissues. Gingivitis mainly results from plaque buildup. When left untreated, it can result in more serious periodontal problems over time. Steroid users, pregnant women, and diabetics are usually more prone to gingivitis.


Periodontitis occurs when gingivitis progresses and worsens causing inflammation of tissues that surround the teeth and the supporting bone. If not treated, it will result in loosening and eventual loss of the tooth. The periodontitis severity can be determined by measuring how deep the pockets on the teeth and gum are.

Treatment of periodontal disease is meant to lower the inflammation and remove the spaces that are in the gums. The teeth are also cleaned thoroughly to loosen and eventually remove tartar or plaque from your teeth. Patients should also follow good dental practices like brushing and flossing to maintain excellent oral health hygiene.