What are the stages of gum disease?

Stage I Gingivitis – the buildup of plaque, a reversible process
Stage II Pocket depth of 3-4mm with no bone involvement
Stage III Pocket depth of 5-6mm with bone involvement
Stage IV Pocket depth of 6mm or greater with bone involvement

Healthy Gums

Healthy gingiva (gum tissue) and bone anchoring teeth in place.


Gingivitis develops as toxins from plaque make the gums red, swollen, tender, and likely to bleed easily.


Periodontitis develops as toxins begin to destroy the structures that anchor the teeth in the bone. As gums detach from bone, pocket develop which fill with plaque and calculus. Tooth roots become exposed and can be more susceptible to decay and sensitivity.

Advanced Periodontitis

Advanced periodontitis develops when the teeth continue to lose their attachment and the supporting bone is destroyed. Unless treated, the teeth may become loose and fall out or require removal by a dentist.

next: How is periodontal disease diagnosed?