Board Certified Periodontist, Dr. Scott O. Kissel

An Important Note About Periodontal Disease

Healthy gums do not bleed. If your gums bleed after you brush your teeth or floss, you are in one of the stages of periodontal disease and should see Dr. Kissel immediately for professional intervention to save your teeth, maintain your smile, and keep you healthy.


If You Have Gingivitis, the First Stage of Periodontal Disease, You May Notice That You Have: 

  • Gums that are tender and painful
  • Gums that are red and swollen
  • Gums that bleed, especially after brushing and flossing

Stages of Periodontal Disease

What is periodontal disease and what does gum disease look like? Periodontal disease is a common problem that affects 50 percent of Americans.

Good oral hygiene – daily flossing, brushing and visiting the dentist – can go a long way in preventing gum disease, which worsens over time and can lead to heart disease, diabetes and low birth weight babies. So, once you know the signs of gum disease, you’ll understand why early treatment is so important.

What is Periodontal Disease? The Stages of Gum Disease

Gingivitis: The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. It can present in various ways and at this stage is reversible. Failure to regularly brush and floss causes an accumulation of plaque to build up and trap bacteria between the gums and teeth. What does gum disease look like when you floss or brush? Bleeding is common and the gums may appear swollen and/or changed from a healthy pink to a reddish hue.

Periodontitis: Untreated gingivitis can develop into periodontitis and it is at this point that patients may become more aware of symptoms that could lead to periodontal disease. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line.  Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums.  The toxins released by bacteria in plaque stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. At this stage gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Gum recession and gaps between the teeth are also common. Immediate treatment is necessary to stop further damage.

Advanced periodontitis: What does gum disease look like in the advanced stage? As gum pockets continue to deepen the bacterial levels are now causing severe bone and connective tissue loss. Teeth are now losing their support structure and are at risk of falling out. This may cause an uneven bite and chewing can be very challenging. Patients who avoid treatment at this stage are in serious danger of losing all of their teeth and may face other complications.

Periodontal Disease Care

If, while reading through this page of information, you are realizing that you may have one of the stages of periodontal disease, it’s important that you seek immediate dental treatment for gum disease. Through the care of a skilled periodontist like periodontist Dr. Kissel, you can receive specialized teeth cleanings to remove built-up plaque and tartar, and gum treatments to treat receding gums.

While many dental patients are concerned about the appearance of their smile, proper oral hygiene isn’t just about cosmetics. As is the case with periodontal disease proper oral hygiene can save your natural teeth, gum tissue, bone structure and prevent you from achieving a heightened risk for heart disease and stroke.

If you are concerned that you may have periodontal disease, the best thing you can do is call Dr. Kissel’s periodontic office at 212-702-9088 or contact us online and schedule your consultation today!