Receding Gum Stages

If you have gum disease, receding gums at some stage is practice inevitable. So, how can you prevent them, and what can be done at each stage?

The 5 Terrible Stages of Gum Recession

How to manage and treat receding gums before it's too late.

While initially, gum disease might not seem like a serious issue, it can progress into something much more frightening when left untreated. Teeth start to appear longer as the gum line begins to recede due to gingivitis progressing into advanced periodontitis, also increasing your risk of bone and tooth loss.

If you’re experiencing receding gums, regardless of the stage, you should involve a dental professional immediately. The sooner you act, the faster we can prevent receding gums from getting out of control and beyond the point of no return.

Explore the stages below to see how serious your condition is and how far your gum disease has progressed.

dentist check-up graphic

Stage 1 - Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the first stage where receding gums begin. During this stage, gum disease is easier to treat and even reverse if you act quickly, as it’s less destructive and easy to manage with increased cleaning. It’s the only stage where we can cure the condition, rather than only manage its symptoms. 

Symptoms include:

  • – Inflamed, pink, sore and swollen gums
  • – Gums look puffier than usual
  • – Gums begin to bleed when brushing
gum disease has missing teeth consequences

Stage 2 - Early Periodontitis

Without the right care and treatment, gingivitis will progress into early periodontitis. At this point, plaque and bacteria start to build up and spread below the gum line, which causes inflammation and deeper pockets between teeth and gums. You might even develop black triangular pockets which is your first sign that the gums are pulling away from teeth.

Your symptoms will now include bad breath, pain when brushing or flossing, and tooth sensitivity. Hygiene cleans might not be enough at this stage to manage your gum disease, and you might need to seek out an expert (a periodontist) to provide proper treatments to prevent damage.

flossing for gum disease

Stage 3 - Moderate Periodontitis

The third stage of receding gums is further caused by untreated initial periodontitis, where bacteria and plaque have been allowed to spread further below the gum line, causing extensive damage to the jawbone, which preserves the tissues holding your teeth in place. 

Symptoms of stage three include swollen gums, foul-tasting discharge, gum recession, sore gums, loose teeth, wobbly teeth and even tooth loss in severe cases.

expert invis dentist

Stage 4 - Severe Periodontitis

Severe periodontitis, the fourth stage, is when patients notice that their teeth appear longer. Here, the teeth may become loose, start to wobble and move about as the gums cannot keep them firmly in position, increasing the risk of tooth loss. 

Symptoms may have advanced when teeth become sore and swollen and develop abscesses accompanied by thick discharge. Treatment for severe periodontitis is usually periodontal surgery.

receding gums photo

Stage 5 - Advanced Periodontitis

Stage five is the most severe form of gum disease and the last of the receding gum stages. When gum disease reaches this stage, you’ve likely already lost multiple missing teeth, and the remaining ones you have left might be on their way out too. 

Biting and chewing food becomes difficult and painful at this stage, with larger gaps forming between teeth. Advanced gum disease can also cause other dangerous health issues like heart attacks, diabetes and even cancer.


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