How Gum Disease Is Diagnosed
Your dentist can calculate the extent of your periodontal disease using a series of measurements, laboratory tests, and X-rays.
Gingival bleeding index. Your dentist scores the severity of the disease based on how easily the gum bleeds when the sulcus is prodded gently.
X-rays. X-rays can reveal bone disintegration and track the level of bone loss over time.
Pocket probing. The dentist measures the depth of the gingival pockets with tiny rulers or electronic devices. The results range from 1 to 3 millimeters (less than one-eighth inch) for healthy gums to more than 7 millimeters (about one-quarter inch) for advanced periodontitis.
Bacterial tests. This kind of testing identifies the types of bacteria in the plaque and helps pinpoint areas of active disease.
Host response tests. These tests detect markers in blood, saliva, or gingival fluid that indicate areas where the disease is active. Scientists are trying to develop forms of the test that can identify people who are at greater risk for periodontitis.
Source: Dental Health for Adults: A Guide to Protecting Your Teeth and Gums. Copyright © by Harvard University. All rights reserved.
Online Medical Reviewer:
Weber, Hans-Peter, DMD
Date Last Reviewed:
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The views represented by this article are that of the author and not of Delta Dental. This article is provided for information only. Please consult with a licensed dentist to discuss the best way for you to improve or maintain your oral health.
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