Diagnosing Periodontal Disease Family Dentistry & Orthodontics In Sterling, VA Periodontal disease is diagnosed by our dentist or hygienist through a series of tests. First, we will check the depth of the gum pockets between your teeth and gums. Next, we will check for inflammation, bleeding, loose teeth, and bone loss. Based on our findings, we will determine the stage of your periodontal disease and recommend your treatment. Stages of Periodontal Disease Gingivitis: the first stage of periodontal disease, characterized by inflamed, tender, bleeding gums, and plaque build-up. Periodontitis: the second stage of periodontal disease, characterized by plaque hardening into calculus (tartar), gum recession, deepening gum pockets, and early stages of bone loss. Advanced Periodontitis: the final stage of periodontal disease, characterized by destruction of gums, bone, and ligament tissues, loosening and loss of teeth, and more severe bone loss.