What Are the Stages of Gum Disease? By Joe McIntyre, DDS on December 01, 2020

Your gums are an important aspect of your oral health. Without healthy gums, your teeth will not have the support structure they need to stay rooted and protected. Serving Harrisonburg, VA, and Staunton, VA, the team at Smiles for Life Dental Care offers top quality periodontal care to treat and prevent gum disease.

Learn what gum disease looks like and how to prevent it with our expert dentists. Here, we will guide you through the stages of gum disease.

What Do Healthy Gums Look Like?

When your gums are healthy, your teeth are happy. Our goal at Smiles for Life Dental is for you to be at this state and keep your gums healthy. Look for the following signs that you have healthy gums:

  • Pink color and firm feel 
  • No tenderness or discomfort when pressing on them
  • Triangle shape in between the teeth
  • No bleeding when brushing or flossing

If you have the above, you have healthy gums. Keep up the good work and maintain your oral health routines.

Stage One: Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. It is caused by a buildup of plaque around the gumline, which then turns to tartar. Plaque and tartar create toxins that can harm your gums. Keep an eye out for signs of gingivitis, including:

  • Redness
  • Swelling or inflammation
  • Easily bleed from brushing or flossing
  • Receding gum line

Staying vigilant for symptoms of gingivitis can benefit you later. The sooner we catch these symptoms, the sooner we can treat it before it progresses. This early stage of gum disease can actually be reversed with a regular dental cleaning and improved oral hygiene.

Stage Two: Periodontitis

When gingivitis advances into periodontitis, periodontal pockets can form around the teeth. This is because the infection seeps beneath the gums and starts to erode the jawbone. This creates nooks and crannies for bacteria to multiply. Signs of periodontitis include loose teeth, bad breath, and tooth sensitivity.

At this stage, a routine cleaning cannot reach all of the problematic areas. Therefore, scaling and root planing is necessary. This deep dental cleaning flushes away bacteria deep beneath the gums and smooths the tooth surfaces to help prevent plaque from reattaching.

Stage Three: Advanced Periodontitis

This is the final stage of gum disease. When gingivitis and periodontitis are left unchecked, they progress to advanced periodontitis.Once periodontitis develops, bone loss worsens, leading to mobility and a higher risk of tooth loss.

Advanced periodontitis typically requires surgical intervention. Your dentist may recommend laser gum therapy or traditional gum surgery. These procedures are designed to eliminate infected tissue and clean out bacteria so your gums have a chance to heal.

Preventive Care and Treatment Options

What can we do about our periodontal health? Our Harrisonburg team recommends the following steps to ensure healthy gums:

  • Brush for two minutes, twice a day
  • Floss daily
  • Use a soft brush
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste
  • Avoid sugar and starches

Our gums and teeth are in constant symbiosis. Keeping up with regular oral cleaning is paramount in fighting gum disease. We also recommend coming in for a cleaning once or twice a year.

Schedule an Appointment Today

At Smiles for Life Dental Care Harrisonburg, your oral health is our top concern. If you have any questions regarding gum disease or other dentistry, feel free to reach out to our top dentists. Give us a call at (540) 828-2312 or go online to schedule an appointment today and take charge of your periodontal health.

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Dentists at Smiles for Life Dental Care

Smiles for Life Dental Care

The team of highly trained doctors at Smiles for Life wants to help you achieve and maintain a healthy smile for a lifetime. Because we want every patient to have access to the advanced treatments offered at our practice, we accept many insurance and financing options, including: 

  • Medicare 
  • Compassionate Finance™
  • CareCredit®
  • LendingClub®
  • Smile Rewards 

To get started, call our Bridgewater office at (540) 828-2312 or request an appointment online.

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