U.S. doctors online nowAsk doctors free
FL
A 59-year-old male asked:

can a radiograph show dental gum infection without the need to probe the gum area?

6 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. John DeWolf
Dentistry 40 years experience
Yes and No: Radiographs and probing are 2 different ways to evaluate dental conditions. The information yielded by both techniques is often essential to making an accurate diagnosis. X-rays show information about areas that can't be reached with a probe but it is often important to know if those areas are associated with other findings that can only be determined with probing.
Dr. Gary Sandler
Dentistry 54 years experience
Sometimes, but.....: There are many tools that dentists use to properly diagnose and evaluate dental health or disease. Radiographs show certain issues, the eyes can visual certain apparent conditions and instruments such as periodontal probes evaluate pocket depths. Together, we come up with an accurate diagnosis. Why would one want to limit our ability to render the best evaluation?
Dr. Paul Grin
Dr. Paul Grin answered
Pain Management 36 years experience
Not always: The soft tissue problems like gingivitis will not show up on x-rays. See your dentist for clinical evaluation and x-rays.
Dr. Robert Mokbel
Dentistry 42 years experience
Probing first: Diagnosing gum disease with X-rays alone is not sufficient and not accurate and provide insufficient data to treat it, probing gives a more accurate mapping of the gums surrounding the teeth (3 D), each tooth is probed in 6 different places, your best having the probing done if you want to get the treatment. As a specialist I, or my Hygienist, will not perform treatment unless We probe.
Dr. Alice Urbankova
Cosmetic Dentistry 17 years experience
Depends: It depends. Clinical examination is usually needed to determine accurate diagnosis. However advanced lesion can be diagnosed by dental X-ray only. Diagnosis may be quite obvious.
Dr. Arnold Malerman
Orthodontics 53 years experience
Sometimes: X-ray will show bone levels between teeth in more advanced cases, but not as accurately on cheek/lip/tongue surfaces. Probing will show severity of the soft-tissue damage. Both are required for accurate diagnosis. Talk to your Dentist and see if referral to a specialist Periodontist is indicated.

90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more. Get help now:

Ask doctors free
Personalized answers
Free
Talk to a doctor
24/7 visits
$15 per month

90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more. Get help now:

Ask doctors free
Personalized answers
Free
Talk to a doctor
24/7 visits
$15 per month
Last updated Jan 7, 2019

Disclaimer:

Content on HealthTap (including answers) should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and interactions on HealthTap do not create a doctor-patient relationship. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice in person because of anything on HealthTap. Call your doctor or 911 if you think you may have a medical emergency.