The Stages of Gum Disease

By Chetan Patil, DDS PhD on December 04, 2017

The stages of gum diseaseGum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a common oral health problem affecting people of all ages alike. Largely caused by poor oral hygiene, gum disease often begins as a minor irritation but can quickly develop into a serious oral health problem. At Periodontal Associates, Dr. Chetan S. Patil offers advanced periodontics treatments to restore oral health and stop gum disease in its tracks. Once gum disease is treated, it is essential for patients to practice good oral hygiene or the condition may return. Dr. Patil explains the stages of gum disease to patients in Englewood, NJ to help them recognize the signs of the condition and when treatment is necessary. Today, we'll take a brief look at the stages of gum disease. For more detailed information, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Patil.


Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease and is most commonly indicated by bleeding gums when brushing and flossing. While bleeding is one of the most common signs, gingivitis may also be recognized by tender, inflamed, or red gums.

Gingivitis develops as bacteria from plaque release toxins into the gum tissue. These toxins irritate the gums, leading to the inflammation and bleeding seen with this condition. Gingivitis can develop quickly, which is why good oral hygiene is so important. In many cases, mild gingivitis can be treated simply by diligently brushing and, most importantly, flossing. Seeing a dentist for a checkup and cleaning every six months is also important to preventing gum disease and maintaining a healthy smile.

Periodontal Pockets

When gingivitis is left untreated, gum disease often progresses to the next stage where periodontal pockets develop. Periodontal pockets are gaps between the gums and teeth caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar at the gumline. As plaque and tartar collect between the gums and teeth, it pushes the gums away from the teeth, creating a pocket. Once a pocket forms, food debris, plaque, and tartar will continue to fill the pocket, causing the periodontal pocket to grow larger and larger.

Without treatment, periodontal pockets will continue to grow. Eventually, periodontal pockets can become large enough to allow plaque and tartar to reach the roots of the teeth and may even damage the bone and connective tissue that help keep the teeth in place.

Once periodontal pockets develop, brushing and flossing alone will not be sufficient to restore gum health. Periodontal pockets require treatment from a dentist. For many people with periodontal pockets, scaling and root planing treatment is an effective way to clean the teeth down to the roots and successfully eliminate the pockets.


Periodontitis is the advanced stage of gum disease. Once periodontitis sets in, the teeth may become loose or shift within the mouth as a result of severe damage to the bone and tissues that support the teeth. In addition to loose teeth, periodontitis may be recognized by constant bad breath, bleeding gums, pain when chewing, gum recession, or increased dental sensitivity.

Periodontitis is a serious condition that must be professionally treated to restore oral health and prevent tooth loss. Treatment will vary depending on the severity of damage, but may include a bone or tissue graft to help regenerate damaged tissues and restore oral health.

Find out Which Treatments Are Right for You

If you suspect you have gum disease, it's important to seek treatment as early as possible to prevent the spread of the condition and protect your oral health. To find out which treatments are right for you, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Patil.

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Dr. Patil and his staff could not be more professional. They take the time to talk to you and explain what will be done. I am constantly surprised at how little pain is associated with the procedures they perform. Jack T.

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