Stages of Periodontal Disease


The gums are firm and resilient, and have a stippled (orange peel) texture.  Variations in gingival color may occur depending on a person’s complexion or race, but is typically coral or light pink.  The sulcus or gum pocket is 3 mm or less in depth.  There will be no bleeding when measured or probed.


Inflammation of the gums characterized by red, swollen and sometimes sensitive or sore gums which bleed when brushing or flossing.  As the gums become more edematous or swollen they will lose their stippled appearance and become smooth and shiny.  The gum pocket will become deeper, 3-4 mm in depth and will bleed during probing.

Early Periodontitis

Pathogenic progression of the disease will display changes in the number, amount, and types of virulent bacteria.  These bacteria result in an increased host inflammatory response causing greater inflammation of the gums with destruction of the gum attachment to tooth and bone.  Slight bone loss will be evident around the teeth on an x-ray.  3-4 mm and even some 5 mm pockets may be present and profuse and sustained bleeding on probing can occur in localized areas.

Moderate Periodontitis

Continued advancement of the disease process will exhibit increased destruction of the gum attachment and additional bone loss.  At this stage roots of teeth may be evident on examination accompanied by tooth mobility.  Pocket depths equal or greater to 5 mm will become more prevalent and exudates may occur from the gum pocket.

Advanced Periodontitis

Further progression of the disease proceeds with considerable loss of gum attachment and bone support with increased tooth mobility.  The bone loss will involve the area between the roots of multi-rooted back teeth.

Periodontitis Tip From Your Dentist:

The more advanced the stage of periodontitis

the more likely you will lose teeth,

the more expensive the “fix”

and the more discomfort you will experience.