Gum disease doesn't appear overnight. The signs of impending disease are usually fairly obvious and all it takes is an observant person concerned about their dental health and regular checkups at the dentist to catch them early. Gum disease can be easy to identify if you know what to look for. Read on and find out about the various stages of the disease and how they lead to a progressively more serious problem.

Clear Sailing

If your check-ups are problem-free, you are experiencing no bleeding or irritation when brushing and flossing, and your gums are a healthy pink color, keep with the program – you are probably doing everything right.


On the other hand, a bit of bleeding and darkening of the gums can be the sign of the mildest form of gum disease, gingivitis. While this level of disease is pretty minor, it's still considered an infection and worthy of a visit to your dentist to see what can be done to arrest the progress to the next step.


Gingivitis that is not treated will move on to the next step, periodontitis. With this stage, gums are bleeding, irritated, and dark red and they are pulling away from the tooth. This pulling away action can create openings that encourage bacteria to enter and may also expose the roots to air, food, and drinks. Roots don't like to be exposed and you will undoubtedly experience pain as a result. The pain alone should alert you to visit your dentist for treatment. At the early stages of periodontitis, tooth scaling may be needed as well as a more intense than usual cleaning session.

Advanced Periodontitis

At this point, your gums are not just irritated but inflamed. Your gums contain sacs that help protect your roots and jawbones from such things as bacteria. Unfortunately, those sacs may be inflamed with this more serious phase of periodontitis. Now, the infection can travel to other parts of your body and cause a life-threatening condition. Bones in the jaw begin to deteriorate as a result of the inflammation. Unfortunately, this bone loss is permanent and will affect the appearance of your lower jaw area. Bone graft surgery is a potential fix and may be necessary if you are to have any restorations, such as dental implants, performed on your teeth.

It's vital to stop gum disease at its early stage by using proper cleaning techniques and seeing your dentist regularly. Talk to your dentist about gum disease today.