The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are given to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.
The American Dental Association recommends regular dental checkups every 6 months. Screening for periodontal disease should be part of every regular dental examination.
- Dental exam—Your dentist will perform a careful survey of the appearance of your gums. Each tooth will be checked for looseness, and your dentist will use a probe to identify and measure any spaces, known as pockets, between your gums and teeth. If you have periodontal disease, these pockets will measure more than 3 mm (millimeters) in depth.
- Dental x-ray—This type of x-ray may reveal whether or not the bones that support your teeth show signs of deterioration. Evidence of bone loss around teeth is one of the signs of more advanced periodontal disease.
Gum disease risk factors. American Academy of Periodontology website. Available at: https://www.perio.org/consumer/risk-factors. Accessed August 17, 2016.
Gum (Periodontal) Disease. NIH SeniorHealth website. Available at: http://nihseniorhealth.gov/periodontaldisease/riskfactorsandprevention/01.html. Accessed August 17, 2016.
Periodontal disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/OralHealth/periodontal_disease/. Accessed August 17, 2016.
Periodontal (gum) disease: Causes, symptoms, and treatments. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/GumDiseases/PeriodontalGumDisease.htm#riskFactors. Accessed August 17, 2016.
Last reviewed February 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Last Updated: 4/6/2021