Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis: What Is the Difference and How Do They Develop?

Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis: What Is the Difference and How Do They Develop?

According to the CDCs (Center for Disease Control), almost half of the American adults suffer from gum disease. Even though it is a common dental condition, many people do not know the causes, symptoms of gum disease. One noteworthy fact to note about gum disease is that there are two types—gingivitis and periodontitis.

Both gingivitis and periodontitis are both types of periodontal disease. But, they are different in how they develop and the symptoms.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a reversible gingivae infection. In the initial stages, gum infection has little or no symptoms, probably why most people tend to ignore the condition. However, you may experience bleeding, swollen, and tender gums are the first symptoms.

Poor brushing techniques and dental practices are the primary cause of gum inflammation. Other factors like tobacco smoking, poor nutrition, dry mouth, and hormonal changes can increase your risk of gum disease.

Gingivitis is treatable if caught early. However, without proper treatment, the inflammation can spread to the periodontium.

The periodontium is the soft tissues that surround and support the teeth. Once affected, these tissues can cause tooth deterioration and decay.

What is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis causes the gums to recede and exposes the roots. As the gums pull away, they develop to gum pockets that trap bacteria. At this stage, gum disease symptoms become more pronounced. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Swollen and tender gums
  • Bad breath
  • Darkened gums
  • Bleeding when brushing
  • Pus between the gums

Unlike gingivitis, periodontitis is irreversible. The infection at times, enters the bloodstream and causes widespread inflammation. Not only that, but severe periodontitis affects the alveolar bone and can cause jaw bone deterioration. With time the teeth get loose and require an extraction.

What Are the Treatment Options for Periodontal Disease?

Our dentist in Cupertino can recommend medication to stop the spread of the bacteria and ease the inflammation. Other treatments that may be used to gingivitis include:

  • Scaling. This is the removal of the tartar buildup from above the gum line and the teeth surfaces. The dentist uses ultrasonic devices or laser tools to clean the gums.
  • Root planing is done if you have gum pockets. The procedure involves reattaching the gums back to the root.

For advanced periodontitis, you may require surgical procedures such as:

  • Pocket reduction. This includes re-contouring the underlying bone, and the gum tissues are reattached back in place.
  • Soft tissue graft. Our dentist in Cupertino, CA, will remove a small amount of tissue from the palate and attach it to the affected area. This will help to reduce gum recession and also cover the exposed roots.
  • Bone grafts. Periodontitis affects the bone causing to deteriorate. Bone grafting or transplant is a procedure of stimulating bone growth using bone granules from your body or a cadaver.

How to Prevent Gum Disease?

Gum disease is common, but it is preventable. Here are a few tips to note:

  • Maintain proper hygiene. Not brushing correctly and eating sugary foods can cause plaque to build up. Furthermore, the bacteria present in the mouth break these foods down, producing an acid solution which attacks the enamel. Using the correct brushing techniques and toothbrush will help protect your teeth from plaques.
  • Get routine dental checkups and cleaning biannually. A comprehensive dental checkup can help the dentist to detect any abnormal gum tenderness. Professional teeth cleaning is also done where the dentist removes accumulated plaques or tartar underneath the gums.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses every day. Fluoride strengthens the enamel and prevents cavities. If you are at risk of dental cavities, the dentist may recommend an in-office fluoride treatment to strengthen your teeth.
  • Watch your nutrition. Eating foods that can enhance the teeth and gums is crucial to supporting your dental health. Eat dark green vegetables, whole grains, yogurt, cheese, fish, and eggs to support your teeth. Do not forget vitamin C rich, which helps to protect the gums from infections.

Visit Cupertino Family Dentist if you notice any abnormal gum bleeding, gum tenderness, or swelling.

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