Gingivitis: earliest stage of gum disease

Stage 1

Gum disease treatment is possible with gingivitis. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease and the only stage of gum disease that is reversible, which is part of the reason it is important to catch gum disease in this stage. Gum disease symptoms include swollen gums, caused when the blood brings healing components to the infected area, and bleeding gums from brushing or eating due to swelling. With gingivitis, excess plaque buildup on the teeth leads to inflammation of the gums. Gums become sore or bleed when brushed, and sometimes the gum disease symptoms with gingivitis are mild enough that people are unaware that they even have it.

Because gingivitis is usually caused by poor dental habits, gingivitis is preventable. Poor hygiene is the most common cause of gingivitis and it may appear during puberty, pregnancy, times of stress, and menopause. Over time the plaque buildup from gingivitis becomes harder and turns into tartar, which also irritates gums. It is important that gingivitis is recognized and treated in this stage of gum disease because it has not yet gone deep enough to damage bone and connective tissue.

Gingivitis can be reversed by removing the tartar that is built up on your gums with effective home dental care and professional treatment to remove the biofilm and plaque build-up. It is important to treat periodontal disease in its early stages before it progresses and causes more damage to your gums and teeth. If your gum disease has advanced from gingivitis to periodontitis, the second stage of gum disease, then you will need to see your dentist for advanced treatment.


In the next stage of periodontal gum disease, periodontitis, the toxins from the buildup of bacterial plaque on your teeth will begin to damage bone and supporting mouth tissues. It is not reversible like gingivitis,, but even as your teeth begin to near this advanced stage, there still may be treatment options to save them. Gum disease symptoms with periodontitis may be gums separating from your teeth, spaces between your teeth, or a receding gum line. Your teeth will be in jeopardy and may need to be removed. With successful treatment, you may be able to save teeth that are on their way to being lost. Having an awareness of the warning signs and symptoms of periodontal disease and reacting to them can help you prevent the disease or stop it in its early stages.

Advanced Periodontitis

The last stage after gingivitis, Advanced Periodontitis, is when the gum disease has progressed so much that the fibers and bone that support the teeth are completely deteriorated. Your gums will recede, showing the root of the tooth. Half or more of the supporting bone is broken down and will not grow back naturally and the teeth may loosen or fall out. Gum disease treatment for advanced periodontitis involves deep root cleanings and surgical intervention that may include grafts of tissue or bone, growth factor or antibiotic placement, open flap surgery, or tooth removal.

If you require treatment for gum disease, Dr Wilhite can find a solution to meet your specific needs. He understands the importance of keeping as much healthy, natural tooth structure as possible. He uses treatments such as antibiotic therapy, scaling, and root planing. Staying aware of the warning signs and symptoms of periodontal disease or recognizing and treating gingivitis is important to gum disease treatment because it has not yet gone deep enough to damage bone and connective tissue.

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