Gum disease is a progressive condition that can cause tooth loss if left untreated. Fortunately, treatment options are available for each stage of gum disease that can combat the symptoms and help stabilize your teeth and gums.


This blog will explain each stage of gum disease and the treatments you may receive from your periodontal specialist.

Stage 1: Gingivitis

Gingivitis begins with bleeding gums when you brush or floss. You may also have bad breath. When a patient has these symptoms, the dentist will check for pockets between the teeth and gums using a periodontal probe. Pockets deeper than 2 millimeters signal trouble.


Gingivitis is treatable and reversible in many cases. Stepping up your home oral care routines and receiving more extensive dental cleanings can help.

Stage 2: Early Periodontitis

Early periodontitis begins with bone loss around the teeth caused by inflamed and receding gums. At this stage, the pocket depth around the teeth is between 4 and 5 millimeters. Gums bleed more than with gingivitis, and receding gums give patients an older appearance.

Scaling and Root Planing

Beginning with Stage 2 and continuing throughout the remaining stages, periodontal patients need specialized cleaning procedures known as scaling and root planing. Scaling involves removing plaque and tartar (calculus) buildup above and below the gum line. When these substances accumulate, they cause periodontal pockets between the teeth and gums to grow and compromise the bone beneath.


The root planing procedure cleans and smooths the root surface, encouraging healthy gum tissue to adhere to it and reduce pocket formation.


Scaling and root planing must occur more than twice a year, meaning more dental appointments.

Stage 3: Moderate Periodontitis

Moderate periodontitis causes more bleeding and pus in the gums. Gums may become highly sensitive to chewing, heat, and cold. Teeth may loosen and cause pain while chewing. The gum bacteria may begin to cause systemic problems in the body due to inflammation.

Gum Grafting

Gum grafting happens when the gums begin to recede enough to endanger the teeth. We perform a non-invasive gum graft procedure using microsurgery techniques. The periodontist creates a tissue flap to protect the gums and encourage healthy growth.


Gum grafting has many advantages. It relieves gum sensitivity due to recession. It protects your oral health by preserving your natural teeth. Periodontists can also use it cosmetically to improve the appearance of your smile.

LANAP Laser Periodontal Surgery

To clean and sanitize the gums, we use LANAP laser surgery. The LANAP procedure is an advanced alternative to traditional gum surgery. A powerful laser kills the bacteria that cause gum disease. Laser surgery’s advantages include patient comfort, shorter healing time, and a lowered risk of gum recession after the procedure.

Periodontal Surgery

Periodontal surgery can help stop gum disease and save natural teeth when performed correctly. This procedure involves making an incision in the gum and removing infected tissue and bone. The periodontist then sutures the gums to promote proper healing. This surgery is also called pocket depth reduction.

Stage 4: Advanced Periodontitis

Aggressive treatments are needed if the patient has neglected their oral health long enough to develop advanced periodontitis.

Bone Regeneration

We may need to rebuild your lost bone using grafting techniques if you have advanced periodontitis. Using bone grafting, we can rebuild the ridge in your gums and the area where the teeth emerge.

Consequences of Untreated Gum Disease

Unchecked gum disease can lead to many oral and systemic problems:

  • Gum recession
  • Bone exposure
  • Loose teeth
  • More space between teeth
  • Lost teeth
  • Offensive bad breath
  • Pain when chewing
  • Greater risk of heart disease, preterm birth, high blood pressure,
  • diabetes, and some forms of cancer

Treat Periodontitis Quickly

Gum disease needs quick treatment at the earliest stages to avoid causing lifelong problems. After Stage 1, periodontists cannot reverse gum disease. They can only treat it. When you brush or floss, consult your dentist for advice as soon as you notice bleeding gums.

Greater Essex Dental offers cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry, and periodontal procedures to patients in Merrimac, MA. They are committed to providing their patience with a comforting dental experience. 

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