The Stages of Gum Disease: Periodontal Health Topics

Jun 14, 2018 @ 01:05 PM — by Neil L. Starr, DDS

Stages of gum diseasePeriodontal disease is a type of bacterial infection that affects your gum tissue. If it isn’t treated early, it can affect your teeth and other structures of your mouth. Thankfully our Washington, DC restorative dentistry center offer advanced gum disease treatment, able to remedy the different stages of the condition.

Let’s take a moment to cover each stage of gum disease, the symptoms involved, and what treatments are available. We will also offer some dental care tips that will help prevent periodontal disease.


The earliest stage of gum disease, gingivitis is the initial infection of the gum tissue. If gingivitis is not treated, it can lead to worse stages of gum disease and more severe kinds of dental health problems.

Symptoms of Gingivitis

The symptoms of gingivitis include:

  • Puffy or swollen gums
  • Red or dark gum tissue
  • Bleeding gums
  • Tender gums
  • Irritation of the gums
  • Bad breath

Treatments for Gingivitis

Thankfully gingivitis can be treated with relative ease. Antiseptic rinses and antibacterial toothpaste may be used to help fight the bacterial infection. Dentists will help deep clean pockets of plaque and and tartar from around the gumline to protect teeth from future infections. This process is known as root planing and scaling, and it’s essential for good preventive dental care.


Periodontitis is the next stage of gum disease, and a worsening of the inflammation experienced in gingivitis. It’s important that people with periodontitis get dental treatment to save their teeth and gums from serious health issues.

Symptoms of Periodontitis

The symptoms of periodontitis include:

  • Severe swelling of the gum tissue
  • Gum recession
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Sore and painful gums
  • Major gum discoloration
  • Loose teeth
  • Changes in tooth alignment

Treatments for Periodontitis

To treat periodontitis, dentists will rely on antiseptic rinses and antibacterial toothpaste to control the bacteria levels in the mouth. Antibiotics may also be prescribed in order to fight bacteria within the body.

To help address gum recession, gum grafting may be performed. This involves the use of donor soft tissue or artificial gum grafts to rebuild a gumline that has been reduced/altered by gum recession.

Advanced Periodontitis

Advanced periodontitis is the most severe stage of gum disease. At this point, the inflammation is pervasive and affects the gums, teeth, and other structures of the mouth.

Symptoms of Advanced Periodontitis

The symptoms of advanced periodontitis include:

  • Extreme pain of the teeth and gums
  • Severe swelling of the gums
  • Changes in tooth spacing
  • Tooth loss

Treatments for Advanced Periodontitis

Treating periodontitis will require a major full mouth reconstruction that brings the bacterial infection of the gums under control while also addressing the damage to other structures of the mouth. The process will be involved, require multiple treatment sessions, and requires a skilled dentist to pull off effectively.

Tips for Preventing Gum Disease

To prevent gum disease from developing, consider the following dental health tips:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meal)
  • Floss your teeth at least once a night (ideally after every meal)
  • Avoid smoking and the use of tobacco products
  • Eat a healthy and well balanced diet
  • Drink water throughout the day to hydrate
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups

Learn More About Periodontal Care

To learn more about improving your dental health and fighting the effects of gum disease, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic and restorative dentist. Dr. Neil Starr is here to provide enhanced dental care and offer advice on lasting dental wellness.

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