The Stages of Gum Disease: Understanding Periodontal Health

Stages of Gum Disease - Brooklyn, NY

Posted on Oct 23, 2017 by Charles Grannum, D.M.D.

The stages of gum diseaseHaving a healthy and beautiful smile comes as a result of good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. One of the cornerstones of general dentistry at our Brooklyn practice is patients education. We think that when patients know more about dental health, they're able to do more for themselves to prevent problems. In essence, a little bit of knowledge could mean less extensive restorative dentistry treatments later in life.

Take gum disease, for example. Many patients have heard that term but don't really understand what it is and what cases it. Let's cover some of the basics of gum disease and break the condition down in terms of its different stages.

About Gum Disease

Gum disease is a type of bacterial infection of the gum tissue. It is caused by the same oral bacteria in the mouth that causes bad breath and leads to cavities and tooth decay. While poor oral hygiene is a common cause of gum disease, smoking, dry mouth, and a host of other factors can contribute to its occurrence and severity.

Gum disease progresses in stages, with one getting progressively worse. Those three stages are as follows:

  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Advanced periodontitis

Below is some information on each of these stages of gum disease, including a rundown of the various signs and symptoms.


Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. When a person has gingivitis, they will often notice issues with bad breath and a strange taste in their mouth. Other symptoms of gingivitis include gum irritation, bleeding gums, and gum discoloration. Some minor gum recession may occur as well, which refers to the loss of gum tissue along the gumline.

Since gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease, it is also the easiest to treat. Regular dental visits can help with catching gingivitis early and bringing it under control.


Periodontitis is the next stage of gum disease. At this point, the previous symptoms become much more severe, particularly with regard to gum recession. The roots of the teeth may be exposed, which often leads to heightened tooth sensitivity. Other symptoms of periodontitis include swelling of the gums, loose teeth, and changes in tooth position.

Because tooth roots are exposed as a result of periodontitis, there's a risk of tooth decay forming at the root or below the gumline. This can be much more challenging to treat than traditional tooth decay.

Advanced Periodontitis

Advanced periodontitis is the most severe stage of gum disease. As the previously mentioned symptoms become even worse, there's also the risk of teeth shifting out of position and eventually falling out due to poor gum support. Oral abscesses may also occur as a result of the severe inflammation and infection of the gum tissue.

Advanced periodontitis puts your entire more at risk given the nature of the condition. It's best for gum disease to be treated well before it progresses to this point, otherwise major reconstructive treatments will be required.

Treatments for Gum Disease

When it comes to treating gum disease, it's important to get the infection under control first. That often involves the use of antiseptic rinses, though antibiotics may be used for serious cases of gum disease.

Once the infection is under control, restorative procedures can be done to rebuild the gum tissue and the gumline and address any problems with tooth decay and tooth loss that resulted from the gum disease. The exact treatment option for you and your needs can be discussed during your visit to the practice.

Contact Fort Greene Dental

For more information about treating gum disease and enhancing your dental health and wellness, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic and restorative dentist today. We look forward to your visit and discussing these matters in much greater detail.