How to diagnose periodontitis (part 4)

Published : 29 Aug 2022 07:42 PM

To determine whether you have periodontitis and how severe it is, your dentist may:

• Review your medical history to identify any factors that could be contributing to your symptoms, such as smoking or taking certain medications that cause dry mouth.

• Examine your mouth to look for plaque and tartar buildup and check for easy bleeding.

• Measure the pocket depth of the groove between your gums and teeth by placing a dental probe beside your tooth beneath your gumline, usually at several sites throughout your mouth. In a healthy mouth, the pocket depth is usually between 1 and 3 millimeters (mm). Pockets deeper than 4 mm may indicate periodontitis. Pockets deeper than 5 mm cannot be cleaned well.

• Take dental X-rays to check for bone loss in areas where your dentist observes deeper pocket depths. 

Your dentist may assign a stage and a grade to periodontitis based on the severity of the disease, the complexity of treatment, your risk factors and your health.


Treatment may be performed by a periodontist, a dentist or a dental hygienist. The goal of periodontitis treatment is to thoroughly clean the pockets around teeth and prevent damage to surrounding bone. You have the best chance for successful treatment when you also adopt a daily routine of good oral care, manage health conditions that may impact dental health and stop tobacco use.

    Courtesy: Mayo Clinic