The following methods and symptoms and signs are very useful in the diagnosis of gum disease during routine checkups:
- Measuring the gums: A dentist or dental hygienist will use a periodontal probe to measure the depths of the pockets around all of the teeth in the mouth generally once per calendar year. Healthy gums will have pockets 1 mm-3 mm deep. Beyond that, the deeper the pockets, the more severe the disease.
- Taking X-rays: Dental X-rays, particularly bitewing X-rays, will help show the level of the underlying bone and whether any bone has been lost to periodontal disease.
- Examining sensitive teeth: Teeth that have become sensitive around the gum line may indicate areas of receding gums.
- Check for loose teeth: Teeth may become loose due to bone loss or an incorrect bite.
- Checking the gums: A dentist or hygienist will look for red, swollen, or bleeding gums.