Understanding the Stages of Gum Disease

Our mouths are an important part of our entire medical health. Through blood vessels and nerves in our gums, our oral health can affect and be affected by the rest of our body. When you have gum disease in Hampton Roads, VA, it could increase your chances of developing other health conditions. If caught early enough, many cases of gum disease can be treated with noninvasive procedures. But if you have late-stage gum disease, you could need more extensive treatment.

Gum Disease in Hampton Roads, VA, can be treated if caught early enough

The Stages of Gum Disease in Hampton Roads, VA

There are three main stages of gum disease. The first, gingivitis, is generally the most common stage of gum disease. A majority of people will likely experience some form of gingivitis in their lives. If left untreated, gingivitis can often turn into periodontitis. Mild and moderate periodontitis can often still be treated through routine dental care and procedures. If gum disease continues to spread, you may develop advanced periodontitis. In many cases, advanced periodontitis requires surgical treatment.


Gingivitis is the best-case scenario for gum disease. It’s often the early warning symptoms of infection and improper oral hygiene. Visual symptoms of gingivitis include red and puffy gums. You may also notice your gums bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth.

Gingivitis can often be treated and gum disease reversed. Because there has been no bone loss, many patients can reverse the effects of gum disease with minor treatments. Treatment may include adding an antibacterial mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine or getting a deep cleaning with your dentist.

Mild and Moderate Periodontitis

As gum disease continues to spread, it can penetrate the lower layers of your gums. This allows the infection to affect other soft tissue in your mouth as well as your tooth and jawbone. At this stage, gum disease causes the gums to pull away from your teeth and create pockets. The deeper the pockets, the more advanced the disease.

Deep cleanings and, potentially, laser dentistry can help clear up gum disease. However, once you develop periodontitis, there’s no effective way to restore your gum line or repair those pockets. Because of this, many patients will need to include periodontal maintenance cleanings in their oral hygiene schedules.

Advanced Periodontitis

At the advanced stage of periodontitis, the pockets continue to deepen, and bone density loss is often inevitable. Many patients experience pain and discomfort. Your teeth are also more likely to become loose and could even fall out. At this point, your dentist will likely recommend oral surgery to help restore and maintain your oral health.

If you develop gum disease, you could be opening your oral and medical health up to greater risks. At First Light Dental, we work hard to catch gum disease early on for quick and effective treatment. Call us today at 757.414.7227 to schedule a consultation and learn more about gum disease and potential treatment options.