Modern Medicine, Old-Fashioned Care

Feb 17, 2013 | Fast Facts, General Health

FAST FACTS: Stages of Dental Disease


  • Gingivitis – inflammation of the gums
  • Periodontitis – inflammation of area supporting a tooth
  • Plaque – sticky, white film on surface of teeth
  • Tartar – hard, yellow to dark brown deposit on teeth

No sign of plaque or calculus

teeth3-290x201Stage 1: Gingivitis
Plaque visible on the teeth. Areas of gum line are swollen. Start or increase dental care at home. Dental cleaning is recommended within 30 days to improve condition.

Stage 2: Early Periodontitis
Increased inflammation of the gum line with plaque and tartar below the gum line. Bad breath and loss of tooth root attachment are possible. Reversible with proper treatment; schedule dental cleaning.

Stage 3: Established Periodontitis
Gums are red, swollen and bleed easily. Infection is possible which requires medication. Bad breath is evident and mouth pain is possible. Dental examination and cleaning should be done immediately and regular home dental care increased. Possible dietary change to reduce tartar.

Stage 4: Advanced Periodontal Disease
Chronic infection is damaging the gums, teeth and supporting bone. Teeth may be missing or loose. There may be constant pain. Dental cleaning and examination are needed immediately. Tooth extraction possible. Home dental care is required to stop further damage and infection.