Understanding And Treating The 4 Stages Of Gum Disease

29 September 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Articles


The underlying health of your smile is important, but you should also place emphasis on your gums. Unfortunately, the appeal of your teeth may be your first priority. From special toothpaste and professional whitening treatments to the installation of porcelain veneers, the various options in cosmetic dentistry are overwhelming. However, protecting your underlying oral health is imperative for preventing gum disease.

Considering that periodontitis, a more involved case of gum disease, affects 47.2 percent of adults over the age of 30, learning the signs of this condition is key to your overall oral health. Using this guide, you will understand the stages of gum disease and find the best treatment for your specific case.


Without proper brushing and regular visits to your dentist, plaque can build up on your teeth. This plaque buildup spreads bacteria across your teeth and your gums, resulting in an early stage of gum disease known as gingivitis.

If you are experiencing the following symptoms, you may have gingivitis:

  • Swollen, Red Gums
  • Light Bleeding of Gums During and After Brushing
  • Foul Breath
  • Poor Taste in Mouth

Prevention is best, but treating gingivitis before it progresses to a more involved case of gum disease is smart. In most cases, a professional cleaning by your dentist can remove this thick buildup of plaque, but you must also make brushing and flossing a priority to prevent further issues.

Early Periodontitis

Gingivitis will spread to an early form of periodontitis without proper treatment. Early periodontitis causes inflammation and swelling in the gums, increasing discomfort and bleeding. During this stage, touching or light pressing on the gums may cause bleeding.

The thicker layer of plaque over the teeth and gums can create pockets in the gum tissue. Over time, bacteria will form inside these pockets, causing infections and tooth decay.

Early periodontitis is painful, but you may also feel pain during ordinary tasks such as eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. Due to this pain and the possibility of infections and decay, oral antibiotics may be necessary. Your dentist will also need to complete a cleaning to remove plaque from the teeth.

Mild Periodontitis

If you choose to ignore the signs of gingivitis and early periodontitis, the condition will only worsen. A mild or moderate form of this gum disease is more painful due to the increased inflammation of the gums. However, the inflammation and infections can damage the bone and tissue supporting your teeth. This causes teeth to become brittle and loose, resulting in tooth loss and possible restorative procedures that can be expensive.

During this stage, your dentist may suggest a scaling procedure to remove heavier layers of plaque from the teeth and gums. The procedure uses lasers, at safe wavelengths, to scale away the buildup of plaque from the teeth and gums. This prevents the further spreading of plaque and decreases your risk of tooth decay and infections.

Severe Periodontitis

Gum disease progresses quickly, so many patients are unable to receive proper treatment before developing a severe case of periodontitis. This severe form of gum disease causes the following:

  • Severe Inflammation in Gums
  • Pain in the Gums and Teeth
  • Bleeding Gums
  • Loose, Fragile, Broken, Decaying Teeth
  • Infections
  • Foul Breath
  • Foul Taste in Mouth
  • Severe Receding of Gums

Damaged gum tissue is common in this involved case of periodontitis, so repairing the gums is essential to treating the disease and preventing further issues. Your dentist may first prescribe antibiotics to treat possible infections and conduct a scaling procedure to remove visible plaque buildup. However, to repair your gums, LANAP may be necessary.

Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure, or LANAP, uses lasers to remove damaged gum tissue without making cuts and stitches. LANAP is a safe, effective treatment for receding gums due to gum disease. The end result is a healthy, attractive smile.

Gum disease may seem like a simple condition, but it can lead to serious oral health issues. Using this guide on the 4 stages , you will see how quickly gum disease progresses and  learn the best treatments for your specific case. 

For more information, go to sites that specialize in laser dentistry.