A periodontal dental examination involves checking of the gums and supporting structures of your teeth. First, your dentist will look at the gums for signs of redness or puffiness. The dentist may poke your gums gently to see how easily they bleed.
These symptoms may indicate gum disease. Your dentist may use a special probe to measure the depth of the pockets between your teeth and your gums. Pockets deeper than 3 millimeters often indicate periodontal disease. If your dentist determines that you have periodontal disease, he or she may refer you to a periodontist. This is a specialist who treats diseases of the gums.