Stages of Gum Disease By James Stein on March 20, 2012

Our mouth is host to a variety of dangers that can lead to gum disease.Gum disease is caused by food particles, mucus, and bacteria mixing together to form plaque. As plaque builds up, the gums become inflamed. The progression of gum disease can result in the gums detaching from the teeth and the weakening of the bone surrounding and supporting the teeth. There are three stages of gum disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.

Healthy Gums

It is important to know what healthy gums look like. Healthy gums are a coral pink color, don’t bleed, and hug the teeth tightly. To keep your gums and teeth healthy, you need to develop good oral hygiene habits from the earliest age possible. Because plaque and tartar can build up quickly, regular dental check-ups and professional dental cleanings are important to maintaining healthy gums and teeth. Our Boston cosmetic dentist James M. Stein recommends good dental habits to ensure the continued health of your gums and teeth including:

  • Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day
  • Flossing at least once a day
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Not using tobacco products
  • Getting regular dental check-ups and cleanings
  • Not grinding your teeth or chewing on objects (fingernails, ice, pens, etc.)


Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. Damage resulting from gingivitis can be reversed because the bone and connective tissues supporting the teeth are not affected. Gingivitis is caused by plaque buildup at the gum line. Signs of gingivitis include bleeding gums while brushing or flossing, red inflamed gums, sensitive gums, and a bad taste in the mouth. It is important to treat gingivitis early, so it does not lead to more advanced gum disease.


Periodontitis is the second stage of gum disease. Damage at this stage cannot be reversed because the bone and fibers supporting the teeth have been affected. Signs of periodontitis include gums that bleed easily, highly inflamed gums, gum swelling, gums pulling away from the teeth, bad taste in mouth, bad breath, and pockets under the gum line. Professional dental cleaning is essential to stopping the progression of gum disease at this stage.

Advanced Periodontitis

At this stage, the bone and fibers supporting the teeth are destroyed. Some teeth may need to be removed, and aggressive treatment is required. Signs of advanced periodontitis include shifting teeth, loose teeth, deep pockets under the gum line, constant bad breath, constant bad taste in the mouth, sensitive teeth, gum boils or abscesses, and teeth that look longer because of receding gums. Scaling and root planing is commonly performed in the treatment of advanced periodontitis.

Restorative Dentistry

Once gum disease has progressed to its most advanced stage, you may experience loose or missing teeth. Our Boston restorative dentistry practice can help you decide the best treatment to restore your smile to its original state. We offer a wide range of restorative treatments, including dental implants, dental crowns, dental bridges, dentures, inlays and onlays, and even full-mouth restorations.

Contact James M. Stein, D.M.D. Today

The health of your teeth is very important to us. To learn more about how you can protect and restore your smile, please contact the dentistry practice of James M. Stein, D.M.D. today.

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Drs. Stein

James M. Stein, DMD

Our dental practice has been trusted by Boston patients for over 30 years. Together, Dr. James M. Stein and Brett E. Stein are members of various renowned organizations, including: 

  • American Dental Association
  • Massachusetts Dental Society
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American College of Prosthodontists

If you are ready to achieve optimal oral and overall health, call our office at (617) 227-6076 or request an appointment online.

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