Infections in the gums and the tissue surrounding your teeth are commonly known as gum disease. This condition is the primary cause of tooth loss for around 70 percent of adults in the US. Interestingly, gum disease can develop without causing noticeable pain, making it possible for you to be affected without realizing it.

The question is, how long can you keep your teeth with periodontal disease?

Maintaining exceptional oral hygiene brings comfort and helps prevent other mouth-related conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. As a result, taking measures to prevent or treat gum infections is essential for ensuring the lifelong well-being of your teeth and gums.

What is Periodontal Disease?

What is Periodontal Disease

Gum disease takes various forms, often starting as gingivitis caused by infectious bacteria that inflame the gums. Symptoms include bleeding, tenderness, and redness. Early gingivitis is reversible, but if neglected, it progresses to periodontal disease.

These bacteria can grow in the space between gums and teeth, deepening pockets. They damage tissues, promoting further growth. An imbalance in the oral microbiome, known as oral dysbiosis, contributes to such a situation. Periodontal disease involves gum recession, deeper pockets, and potential bone damage holding teeth in place.

Who is at the Highest Risk of Losing Teeth Due to Periodontal Disease?

All these factors collectively heighten the risk of tooth loss.

What are the Various Stages of Periodontal Disease?

Various Stages of Periodontal Disease

Before knowing “How long can you keep your teeth with periodontal disease?”, it’s crucial to grasp the four distinct stages of periodontitis and the associated risk of tooth loss at each phase.

Stage 1: Gingivitis

Gingivitis marks an early phase of gum disease, yet not all individuals with gingivitis will progress to periodontitis. This stage demands attention as it can be deceptively easy to overlook while advancing rapidly.

Gingivitis typically transitions into gum disease within weeks to months if left untreated. However, this stage is reversible through targeted bacteria eradication in collaboration with your dentist or periodontist.

Symptoms of Gingivitis include

How Long Can You Keep Your Teeth with Gingivitis?

Gingivitis alone doesn’t pose a threat of tooth loss. Nevertheless, gingivitis can swiftly evolve into periodontal disease if untreated, leading to permanent damage.

Stage 2: Early Periodontitis

Early periodontal disease, or periodontitis, emerges a few weeks after untreated gingivitis. Plaque accumulation around teeth and gums solidifies into tartar. An early gum disease diagnosis arises when a 4-5mm gap forms between gums and teeth.

Tartar + Bacteria = Receding Gums and Weakened Teeth

Symptoms of Early Periodontitis include

How Long Can You Keep Your Teeth with Early Periodontitis?

Loss of supporting bone becomes irreversible. Regular dental visits aid in maintaining your condition and preventing tooth loss while enhancing oral health. Consistent oral hygiene is pivotal to ward off early gum disease.

Stage 3: Moderate Periodontitis

Moderate gum disease triggers visible gum recession, exposing vulnerable enamel. Enamel becomes susceptible to decay due to bacterial action. Teeth may loosen and shift, accompanied by white discharge and an intensified unpleasant taste in the mouth.

The onset of discharge signals the start of infection, elevating the risk of tooth loss.

Symptoms of Moderate Periodontitis include

How Long Can You Keep Your Teeth with Moderate Periodontitis?

Tooth loss becomes imminent as infection sets in, damaging enamel, teeth, and gums. The speed at which early periodontitis progresses to this stage hinges on your dental hygiene and receiving adequate oral care from a dentist or periodontist. Longitudinal studies indicate that, on average, it takes around 50 to 65 weeks or 12 to 16 months to reach this stage without treatment.

Stage 4: Advanced Periodontal Disease

At this advanced point of periodontal disease, tooth loss, bone deterioration, and widespread infection become inevitable. A compromised immune system weakens your ability to fend off infection, heightening major health risks like diabetes and heart disease.

How Long Can You Keep Your Teeth with Advanced Periodontal Disease?

In this phase, tooth loss becomes a reality, accompanied by bone loss and rampant infection that can potentially spread to various body parts. The weakened immune response amplifies health dangers like diabetes and heart disease.

Answering the Question “How Long Can You Keep Your Teeth with Periodontal Disease?”

Periodontal Disease

Consistent oral care and ongoing maintenance can preserve your teeth for a lifetime. Yes, not everyone with periodontal disease experiences tooth loss!

A 1978 study involving 600 individuals with periodontal disease revealed that half (300) didn’t lose teeth. Among the participants, 199 had lost 1-3 teeth, 76 had lost 4-9 teeth, and 25 had lost 10-23. Out of 2139 teeth assessed from the group, 666 were lost. In summary, approximately 31% of teeth were lost over a 22-year study period, with half of the participants avoiding tooth loss.

In a 2003 study spanning 12 years, tooth loss was examined in 156 patients. Only 61 patients experienced at least one tooth loss or extraction during this period, aligning closely with the prior study where 50% of patients had experienced tooth loss.

Interestingly, around a third of individuals aged 65 and older have lost six or more teeth. However, tooth loss isn’t always linked solely to gum disease. Cavities and tooth decay can also contribute to tooth loss.

Can You Reverse Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease can only be reversed if it is detected early on. If you suffer from gingivitis or periodontal disease, prioritize your oral health by not skipping brushing and avoiding detrimental foods. Mild gingivitis can be reversed with proper home care. If the condition progresses to periodontal disease, consult a dental expert.

Treatment options depend on severity. Early stages may involve initial care, home follow-up, and scaling and root planing to remove tartar and promote gum healing. Surgery like pocket reduction or flap surgery might be necessary for advanced cases.

However, dental implants or restoration surgery are the solutions if tooth loss occurs due to periodontal disease. Maintaining oral hygiene, regular check-ups, and a balanced diet contribute to your oral health in the long term.


We hope that you got the answer to the query, “How long can you keep your teeth with periodontal disease?” Once you’re diagnosed with periodontal disease, it’s a lifelong condition that requires ongoing maintenance to prevent a recurrence. Advanced periodontitis can potentially lead to irreversible tooth loss.

Recognizing signs early makes saving teeth from this disease more manageable. Regular dental visits are crucial to detect potential gum disease symptoms and offer timely treatment.

For further information or treatment, contact RiverRock Dental at 952.445.5556.

Your oral health matters to us. 


Certainly, by effectively treating and following your dentist’s guidance, you can lead a long life despite suffering from periodontal disease. Just like managing any chronic ailment, seeking treatment early enhances the prospects of resolving gum disease and enhancing your overall well-being.

While treatment can address periodontal disease, it’s not technically a “cure.” Even after dental intervention, the condition might reoccur without maintaining proper oral hygiene. Once gum disease sets in, the battle is a lifelong one. 

Gum disease can be reversed only in its initial stage, called “gingivitis.” Once it advances to the second stage (periodontitis), complete elimination becomes unachievable.