The Three Stages of Gum Disease

Dr. Lackler, Dr. Haradon and the whole team at Rocky Mountain Periodontal Specialists are always treating patients who have varying degrees of gum disease. We are rather accustomed to the signs and symptoms, but we also want you to know what sets one stage of gum disease apart from another. The more educated you are about gum disease, the better chance you have of getting the treatment you need as soon as possible.


Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. This sets in when the bacteria in plaque begin to irritate your gums. As with most forms of irritation, you’ll notice that your gums become red and swollen, and they may bleed when you brush and floss. Perhaps you’ve seen commercials for toothpastes and mouth rinses that claim to prevent gingivitis. Although these products may help, the real key is regular brushing and flossing. If you notice your gums bleeding, maintain a stringent at home oral care routine to clear away plaque.


If left untreated, then gingivitis progresses to become periodontitis, the second stage of gum disease. During this stage, bacterial plaque begins to damage the connective fibers and supporting bone structure that hold your teeth in place. You may notice that your gums recede or pull away (down) from your teeth, so your gum line looks lower. Eventually, gum tissue will begin to detach from the surfaces of your teeth and form pockets. Bacteria can quickly accumulate in these pockets and the toxins that bacteria excrete often create noticeable bad breath.

With periodontal therapy, we can treat periodontitis. We’ll clean away bacteria from above and below the gum line, and then smooth root surfaces to make them less receptive to bacteria. Dr. Lackler or Dr. Haradon may prescribe an antibiotic treatment after this procedure.

Advanced Periodontitis

This is the final and most devastating stage of gum disease. The signs are difficult to ignore and include:

  • Very red and swollen gums
  • Painful gum tissue
  • Bleeding gums
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Loss of supporting bone

Lost bone tissue does not grow back, so tooth loss is also a consequence of advanced periodontitis. Furthermore, because of gum tissue erosion, remaining teeth are more exposed to disease and decay.

Contact Rocky Mountain Periodontal Specialists

Rocky Mountain Periodontal Specialists provide services to repair and renew your periodontal health. If you live in and around Colorado Springs and need periodontal treatments, then please request an appointment!

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