Gingivitis Versus Periodontitis
Gingivitis and periodontitis are both dental terms that refer to the condition of your gums. More specifically, they are specific stages of gum disease. While they both mean that your gums have been invaded by bacteria and infection, they indicate a certain severity of the infection and are treated differently.
The Stages of Gum Disease
Gum disease begins with the presence of plaque and bacteria along the gum line. When plaque doesn’t get removed from daily brushing and flossing, it begins to harden and irritation the gums. In turn, you may notice bleeding, puffiness and redness throughout your gums. This is the first stage of gum disease, call gingivitis. While your gums are clearly irritated and inflamed during this stage, your teeth are still firmly anchored in their sockets. All damage is within the soft tissues and is easily reversible with better oral hygiene or a deep cleaning from your dentist.
If gingivitis is not addressed, however, the gum disease or infection will spread and worsen. Gingivitis turns into periodontitis without treatment, which is a much more serious condition that includes threat like bone loss and tooth loss. Periodontitis occurs when the inner layers of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth roots. This forms a deep pocket of gum tissue that collect further debris and bacteria, which worsens the infection. While your immune system fights the bacteria growth below the gum line, it often results in bone and tissue destruction around the roots of your teeth. In result, your teeth lose stability and tooth loss becomes a real possibility. This is why gum disease is listed as the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the United States. Periodontitis must be treated aggressively and may even involve oral surgery or laser gum therapy.
Causes and Risk Factors for Gum Disease
While gum disease and periodontitis don’t carry the same level of concern, they are both stages of gum disease and can both be prevented in the same way. Knowing what causes gum disease and learning your risk factors can help you avoid this devastating oral health condition:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Hormonal changes
- Certain illnesses and diseases (diabetes, cancer, HIV)
- Medications that cause dry mouth
- Family history
Detecting Gingivitis Can Prevent Periodontitis
If you want to avoid the serious consequences of periodontitis, it is imperative that you recognize and address the symptoms of gingivitis, or early gum disease. Call Laguna West Dental Care if you notice that your gums are bleeding easily when you brush or floss, or if you experience swelling, tenderness or redness within your gums. In many cases, a professional dental cleaning can restore your gums to optimal health.
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9098 Laguna Main St Ste 8
Elk Grove, CA 95758
Phone: (916) 683-7300