Understanding the Stages of Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a very serious and common oral health problem. Gum disease often develops as a result of improper oral hygiene and the failure to visit a general dentistry office for preventive healthcare. People who use tobacco are more likely to develop gum disease. If left untreated, patients can experience serious complications, including tooth loss. Fortunately, when gum disease is detected early, a specialist in periodontics can easily reverse the problem.


The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. It occurs when the gums become inflamed because of the buildup of plaque at the gum line. Plaque produces toxins that cause harm to the gum tissue. Many people have gingivitis without even realizing it. Gingivitis can cause subtle symptoms such as occasional bad breath, redness and swelling of the gums, and perhaps bleeding during brushing and flossing. At this stage, gum disease hasn’t yet inflicted serious consequences on a person’s oral health and it is easily reversed through professional dental care and good at-home oral hygiene practices.


If gingivitis is allowed to progress unchecked, it can develop into periodontitis. At first, periodontitis may only be indicated by worsening bad breath, increasing redness of the gums, and greater frequency of bleeding during brushing and flossing. As periodontitis continues to worsen, the infection extends deep underneath the gum line and begins to destroy the supporting bone and tissue structures. It is not possible to reverse this simply by brushing more frequently at home; patients will require deep cleaning at the dental office. This technique is called scaling and root planing.

Advanced Periodontitis

Advanced periodontal disease is characterized by more virulent, damaging bacteria that drive the infection deeper. During this stage of gum disease, significant bone loss can occur and tooth loss becomes increasingly likely. If not treated, patients are likely to notice loose, shifting teeth, gum recession, and tooth sensitivity.

Here at Eagle Falls Dentistry on Stratford Drive, our team provides a full range of periodontal services for patients with gum disease, including cosmetic dentistry care. For more information about periodontics, visit the website of the MyDentist family or call (630) 894-5992 to schedule an appointment at a dental office in Bloomingdale, IL. Our second general dentistry office, Associated Dental Care, is located on Bloomingdale Road.

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