Lincoln Square (773) 654-3575 2328 W Foster Ave., Chicago, IL 60625

an appointmentclick here

an appointmentclick here

Can Periodontal Disease Be Reversed?

If you’ve visited a dentist office in Lincoln Square recently, your hygienist or dentist may have probed the spaces between your teeth, recording measurements as they proceeded. All of this prodding is your dentist’s way of checking for periodontal disease. Dental professionals use the probe, which is basically a tiny ruler, to measure the depth of the pockets between your teeth, as deep pockets might indicate periodontal disease.

While we could simply answer the question as to whether or not periodontal disease can be reversed, it is important to cover some basics as to what periodontal disease is and what the various stages look like.

Periodontal Disease Lincoln Square

What is Periodontal Disease?

“Periodontal” literally means, “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease, which can eventually affect your jawbone if left untreated, is a serious infection that begins in the gum tissue. It begins as gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, and can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss. Additionally, periodontitis is also considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and other system-wide inflammatory conditions.

Causes of Periodontal Disease

While anyone can be affected by periodontal disease, certain behaviors can increase the risk. As with most dental problems, periodontal disease usually occurs due to poor oral hygiene habits. Regular brushing and flossing will help remove tiny food particles and keep the “bad” bacteria in your mouth from building up and forming plaque.

Once plaque hardens on your teeth, it becomes tartar – also called calculus, which contains damaging bacteria. Tartar is impossible to remove without going in for a professional teeth cleaning. Left alone, tartar spreads below the gum line, attacks your gums, and destroys the tissue holding your teeth in place.

Other causes of periodontal disease include diabetes, smoking, and taking certain medications that reduce the amount of saliva produced by the salivary glands. Additionally, some individuals are genetically predisposed to periodontal disease.

The Stages of Periodontal Disease

To answer the initial question about reversing gum disease, it is important to know what stage of gum disease you are referring to. The earliest stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis – which is the only stage of periodontal disease that is reversible.


Gingivitis is characterized by redness and swelling of the gums, occasional bleeding when brushing and flossing, and occasional bad breath. If you notice any of these signs, it is time to schedule a dental examination and professional teeth cleaning. The dentist or hygienist will remove any tartar that has formed on your teeth and make sure you have the support you need to keep your gums healthy going forward. This is the only way to stop the progression of periodontal disease and reverse the existing damage.

Mild Periodontal Disease

Once your gingivitis has progressed to this stage, the damage is no longer reversible. However, you will be able to manage it with help from your dentist. This stage is characterized by redness and swelling of the gums, bleeding when brushing and flossing, bad breath or bad taste in your mouth, painful chewing, and pockets between your teeth that measure 4 – 5 millimeters in depth.

Dental hygiene will not be able to reverse the periodontitis, because at this stage, it has begun to infect and cause damage to the bone tissue. Nevertheless, disease progression can be stopped and the infection controlled.

Best Dentist Office Lincoln Square

Moderate Periodontal Disease

Once gum disease has progressed to this stage, it must be treated using scaling and planing, deep cleaning procedures that help eliminate the infection. The deep pockets around the teeth will measure 6-7 millimeters in depth at this stage, and if left untreated, the bacteria that is attacking the bone can spread to the bloodstream and immune system. You may also experience increased bleeding, painful gums, and tooth and bone loss.

Advanced Periodontal Disease

If left untreated, this fourth and final stage of periodontal disease can lead to serious health problems. Painful pockets of infection, considerable bone and tooth loss, and shifting teeth caused by advanced periodontal disease will most likely need to be treated with surgery or laser therapy at this stage. If left untreated, these serious oral health issues can lead to cardiovascular disease and other health problems caused by the spread of infection and inflammation.

Treating Periodontal Disease

While gingivitis, the “warning” stage of periodontal disease is completely reversible with a meticulous dental hygiene routine and professional dental treatment, once gum disease progresses to the bone, it cannot be reversed.

Of course, your dentist can successfully treat periodontal disease and control the infection with your cooperation. You might have to quit smoking or adjust other behavioral factors to reduce your risk of disease progression, as well as pay strict attention to your at-home oral hygiene routine. Nevertheless, you will likely find this easier and more desirable than allowing the disease to progress to the point where you require surgery – and possibly dentures.

Best Dentist Office in Lincoln Square

Visit the Best Dentist Office in Lincoln Square

The best way to avoid periodontal disease in the first place is to maintain excellent oral hygiene habits and visit your dentist regularly. By maintaining this level of dental care, you will notice the earliest signs of gum disease before it gets to the point of being irreversible.

If you can’t remember the last time you visited a dentist, now is the perfect time to make an appointment with our highly-skilled dental professionals at Cornerstone Dental of Lincoln Square. We offer state-of-the-art dental care including general dentistry treatments, cosmetic dentistry procedures, and restorative dentistry services. We invite you to call and book your appointment at our dental practice today!

Back to News


Parking Spaces

Convenient Parking

Bus Routes

Bus stops near by


Accessibility parking

Questions? Contact Us Today