Gingivitis and periodontitis are both versions of gum disease. However, they differ greatly in their severity, symptoms, and treatment. Read on to understand the difference.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. It occurs when bacteria and plaque are allowed to accumulate on your teeth due to improper oral hygiene. This buildup of plaque on your teeth and along the gum line causes inflammation in your gums, which can make them appear red and swollen. You might experience bleeding gums when you brush your teeth as well. Gingivitis can also cause persistent bad breath.
Luckily, gingivitis can be intercepted and reversed before it progresses further, since this early stage of gum disease only affects the gum tissue rather than your teeth and bones. Gingivitis is reversed through diligent oral hygiene, both in our office and at home. We would clean your teeth thoroughly to remove plaque and tartar buildup along the gum line, and at home you should brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. You should also floss every day to clean the tight spaces that your toothbrush cannot reach. Additionally, if you are a smoker or a heavy drinker, quitting these habits can help prevent gingivitis from advancing further and causing other serious health problems.
When gingivitis is not treated, it progresses into a stage called advanced periodontitis. At this stage, gum disease cannot be reversed because it has started to affect your teeth and bones in addition to your gum tissue. With periodontitis, your gums recede away from your teeth, which means that your teeth can loosen and eventually fall out. Advanced periodontitis can also result in bone loss in both the jawbone and the bones that hold your teeth in place. Symptoms of periodontitis include gums that are visually receding or teeth that appear longer, heightened tooth sensitivity, and painful oral abcesses.
Periodontitis cannot be reversed, but there are a variety of treatments available. Deep cleaning procedures like a root canal, scaling, and root planing may be necessary, along with antibiotics. Severe cases may require surgery such as gum grafting or gum tissue regeneration. If you have already lost teeth due to periodontitis, we would talk to you about tooth restoration as well. Contact our office to learn more about treating and preventing gum disease.