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Learn the Differences Between the Stages of Periodontitis

by Williams, Daily & Frazier on May 13, 2024 8:00:00 AM

Periodontitis is not just a gum disease; it is a pervasive threat to oral health that can damage soft tissues and, without proper intervention, lead to the loss of the very bones that support your teeth. Recognizing the different stages of periodontitis is important for early detection and effective treatment. At Williams, Daily & Frazier Dental in Raleigh, NC, we specialize in diagnosing and managing periodontitis, helping our patients maintain healthy smiles through expert dental care. 

In this blog post,  we will explain the different stages of periodontitis and provide useful advice on how to identify and treat each stage.

What is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis essentially begins where gingivitis ends. While gingivitis, the inflammation of the gums, can often be managed and reversed with good oral hygiene, untreated gingivitis can escalate to periodontitis. This more severe stage involves not just the gums but the deeper periodontal structures including bone. 

Neglect, characterized by persistent plaque buildup and inflammation, paves the way for periodontitis, marking its importance in oral health discussions.

Stages of Periodontitis

Understanding the progression of periodontitis is needed for early identification and seeking treatment to prevent irreversible damage to your oral health. Here’s a detailed breakdown of its stages:


The initial battle with periodontitis starts with gingivitis, a condition where the gums might bleed during routine brushing or flossing. You may notice redness and swelling around the gumline, signs that your gums are inflamed and in distress. However, the silver lining with gingivitis is that it's reversible with proper oral hygiene and professional dental care, highlighting the importance of early detection and treatment.

Early Periodontitis

As the condition progresses to early periodontitis, subtle but significant changes occur. There is slight bone loss around the teeth, which, although not visible to the naked eye, can be detected by a dental professional through X-rays. During this stage, the gums start to form small pockets beneath the gumline. These pockets become breeding grounds for food particles and plaque, exacerbating the problem if left unchecked.

Moderate Periodontitis

When periodontitis advances to the moderate stage, the destruction becomes more pronounced. There's greater bone loss and the gum pockets deepen further, allowing more plaque and bacteria to accumulate. Symptoms may now include noticeable gum recession, where the gums pull away from the teeth, and increased mobility of teeth as the supporting structures weaken. It’s a stage where intervention is necessary to prevent further damage. We highly recommend seeking the help of a dental professional at this stage to develop a treatment plan that may include deep cleaning, scaling and root planing, and possibly antibiotic therapy.

Advanced Periodontitis

In its final, most severe stage, advanced periodontitis inflicts significant bone loss. This stage is characterized by extensive damage to the fibers and bone supporting your teeth, leading to tooth looseness and severe pain. Chewing can become difficult, and abscesses may form, exacerbating the discomfort. 

Without timely intervention by this stage, tooth loss becomes a stark reality, and complex treatments, such as surgery or implants, may be the only options left.

Risk Factors and Symptoms to Watch For

Several factors contribute to the risk of developing periodontitis, including smoking, inconsistent oral hygiene, diabetes, and genetic predisposition. Key symptoms that signal periodontitis include persistent bad breath, receding gums, and loose teeth. Recognizing these signs can be your cue to seek professional dental advice.

Prevention and Treatment

Preventing and treating periodontitis effectively requires a good understanding of its prevalence and the impact of lifestyle choices. According to the CDC, over 47% of adults in the United States aged 30 and older have some form of periodontal disease, with 30% having moderate periodontitis and about 8.5% suffering from severe periodontitis. The prevalence is notably higher in older adults, with over 70% of those aged 65 and older affected​​.

Regular dental check-ups are important as they can help detect early signs of gum disease, allowing for timely treatment such as scaling and root planing. However, lifestyle adjustments play a significant role in both prevention and management of periodontitis. For instance, smoking is a major risk factor, with nearly 65% of current smokers having periodontal disease compared to less than 40% of nonsmokers​)​.

How Williams, Daily, and Frazier Will Help

Our team at Williams, Daily, and Frazier Dental employs the latest in diagnostic technology and treatment methods to tackle periodontitis at any stage. We develop personalized care plans that do more than treat periodontitis; we educate our patients on how to achieve and maintain optimal gum health for life.

Understanding and recognizing the stages of periodontitis is essential for maintaining not just oral health but overall well-being. If you’re concerned about your gum health or have noticed any symptoms of periodontitis, don’t wait. Contact Williams, Daily & Frazier Dental in Raleigh, NC, today. Our expert team is ready to provide you with personalized care and effective treatment solutions that cater to your unique dental needs. Together, we can tackle periodontitis and help you maintain a healthy, vibrant smile.

Williams, Daily & Frazier Dental is a family and cosmetic dentist in Raleigh, NC with a dedicated team of dentists, assistants, hygienists and administrators who are enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. We offer dental implants, Invisalign teeth straightening, in-office and home teeth whitening options, and Oral-B electric toothbrushes.
Contact Williams, Daily & Frazier at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.