The 7 Stages of Gum Disease Denial


We know you’ve been doing your best to avoid visiting the dental hygienist…yep, that’s right, we’ve figured it out! Maybe it’s because you know they’ll ask all those irritating questions that poke your conscience, such as “do you brush twice a day?”and “how often do you floss?” We also know you won’t be believe us if we told you it’s actually because we care. Yet despite our persistence some people still haven’t got the idea that it’s really important to brush and floss regularly.

So what happens when patients are told they’ve got the dreaded gum disease? Well in our experience, it goes a little something like this:

Stage 1: SHOCK

I’ve got what?” Many patients are genuinely shocked when they’re diagnosed with gum disease, so much so, they often don’t hear much of the discussion that follows. But that’s okay, we were probably saying something along the lines of: “healthy gums are normally pink in colour and firm and don’t bleed during brushing or flossing”. Along with: “gum disease doesn’t always affect your whole mouth but can often just be plaguing one particular area.”

Stage 2: DENIAL

Are you sure?” Yep, we’re sure, in fact we’re certain. Us folks can talk ourselves out of anything if we want to because denial is a powerful thing… but it really only makes the truth harder. If you need a little extra proof, we’re always happy to show you, in your mouth or on your x-rays. We diagnose gum disease through visual exams, measuring the gums with a probe to check the depth around your teeth, or with dental x-rays.

Stage 3: ANGER

Aren’t you supposed to prevent this?” We know that it feels better when we can find someone to share the blame, but the odds are that we’ve been telling you that it’s a good idea to floss regularly for a while now. We really want you to have a good oral health routine at home and try and provide the education you need to do so. That being said, gum disease can be caused or worsened by factors such as diabetes, pregnancy hormones, or certain drugs. Unfortunately, it can even be genetic.


Can’t I just have a regular scale and polish for now?” Nope, sorry. Our job is to help you get a healthy smile, so once we’ve diagnosed you with periodontitis, we can’t just ignore it. Depending on the stage of the disease, treatment pretty much always requires more in-depth cleaning visits, including scaling and root planing procedures.


Why should I even bother?” When patients finally come to grips with their diagnosis, it can leave them feeling a little discouraged, but DON’T give up. Remember gum disease is treatable and even curable. With help from us and by whipping your home routine into shape, you can do it!

Stage 6: ACTION

Once our patients realise how important their oral health is to their whole well-being, it helps kick them into gear. We’ll get you started with a round of scaling and root planing over one or more visits, and provide you with all the help and education you need to banish that pesky gum disease once and for all.

Stage 7: VICTORY

to maintain that healthy smile by going back to regular check-ups and routine cleaning along with your awesome new oral health routine at home.

Hip hip hooray! You’ve done it, you’re gum disease free! While you’re celebrating, we hate to be party-poopers, but your bacteria battle isn’t completely over. Now you need to maintain that healthy smile by going back to regular check-ups and routine cleaning along with your awesome new oral health routine at home.