Understanding The Stages Of Gum Disease

Gum disease is one of the most common oral health conditions in America. Nearly half of all adult Americans have gum disease, according to the CDC. Without proper treatment, the earliest stage of the disease (also called gingivitis) can easily progress and cause permanent damage to your teeth and gums. Here are a few things to consider if you think you may have gum disease or if you want to do your best to prevent the condition: 


Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. Notably, gingivitis does not cause any permanent damage to your gums and teeth, unlike the more advanced stages. This means that with proper periodontal care in Oak Park, gum disease can be reversed and completely eliminated. Once your gum disease progresses into periodontitis, however, this is no longer the case.

The symptoms of gingivitis are usually relatively mild. You may notice things like:

  • Bleeding when brushing and flossing
  • Inflammation and tenderness of the gums
  • Dark or red gums
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • The visible buildup of tartar between your teeth and gums

Usually, a deep cleaning (scaling & root planing) and proper oral hygiene are enough to resolve cases of gingivitis. However, gingivitis can easily progress to the next stage of gum disease without proper care. 


If gingivitis is left untreated, it will progress to periodontitis. This stage of gum disease causes your inner layer of gum and bone to pull away from the teeth, forming “pockets” that collect bacteria. As bacteria continue to attack your gums and teeth, permanent and irreversible damage will be done to your oral tissue.

Signs of periodontitis can include: 

  • Lengthening of the teeth due to gum recession
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • The formation of deep pockets between your teeth and gums
  • A bad taste in the mouth

Intervention with proper periodontal care can halt most of the damage that periodontitis will do to your mouth and save your teeth. If left untreated, however, your condition will progress into the final stage of gum disease.

Advanced Periodontitis 

Advanced periodontitis is the final stage of gum disease. During this stage, the supporting fibers and bone underneath your teeth have been almost completely destroyed. Symptoms of advanced periodontitis include:

  • A change in how your teeth fit together
  • Loosening of your teeth or total tooth loss
  • Pockets of pus forming between your teeth

Periodontal surgery such as gum flap surgery may be used to try to clean the teeth and remove the infection. However, due to the amount of damage that is done to the gums and the roots of your teeth, most cases of advanced periodontitis are treated by simply extracting all of the remaining teeth and replacing them with a set of dentures. 

Know The Stages Of Gum Disease – Get Treatment Right Away! 

Timely treatment for gum disease is critical to prevent your condition from worsening and to ensure that you can reverse or halt the effects of gum disease. If you think that you may have gum disease in Oak Park, Dr. Murphy is here to help. With professional periodontal care, we can restore your gums and teeth, and keep your mouth healthy. Contact us now at (708) 524-0330 to get started, or stop by our office at 137 N Oak Park Ave, Oak Park, IL 60301 for more information.