How Do Gingivitis and Periodontitis Differ?

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Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. Generally, it is caused by poor oral hygiene that allows plaque to build up and harden on the teeth. When gingivitis, early gum disease, is left untreated, it can advance to the more advanced gum disease stages, such as periodontitis. While gingivitis is reversible, periodontitis is not, and can involve bone loss, which cannot be recovered. Ultimately, periodontal disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss for patients throughout Bay City, Midland, and Saginaw, MI. At Bay City Dental Center, Dr. Matthew Ward performs regular dental exams and dental cleanings that can detect gum disease early on. Gum disease treatment can prevent it from advancing to more serious forms of periodontal disease.

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a condition where the gums become inflamed. Many of our patients in Bay City, MI don’t even know they have it because the symptoms aren’t usually painful. Some common symptoms of gingivitis include bleeding when brushing or flossing, and red, tender, and swollen gums. Even patients who brush and floss regularly can still have some type of gingivitis. The biggest indicator is if your gums are bleeding, as healthy gums do not bleed.

What is periodontitis?

When gingivitis progresses, it can eventually turn into periodontitis, a later stage of gum disease. As your gums inflame, they will recede and pull away from your teeth. This creates pockets where harmful bacteria can build. Some common symptoms of periodontitis include:

  • Tooth sensitivity

  • Pain when chewing or biting

  • Sores on the inside of the mouth

  • Tooth loss

While gingivitis is reversible, periodontitis is not. It can lead to an infection that gets into your bloodstream and leads to serious health issues, including some types of heart disease. If you suspect you have any stage of periodontal disease, it’s important to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ward at Bay City Dental Center as soon as possible to discuss gum disease treatment.

Gum disease treatment

The treatment that Dr. Ward chooses to treat your periodontal disease is determined by its severity. Treating gum disease as early as possible during the gingivitis stage helps minimize damage and decreases the need for future surgery. The goal of any periodontal treatment is to restore a patient’s gum health.

A professional teeth cleaning helps remove bacteria buildup on the teeth and below the gums. When there are no bacteria, an infection cannot occur, so periodontitis cannot take place. Scaling and root planing helps in more advanced stages of gum disease, while surgical intervention or grafts may be necessary for some patients who have experienced significant tissue damage. Ultimately, the only way to know which treatment will work best for you is to visit our dental office in Bay City, MI for a dental exam.

Learn more about gingivitis vs periodontitis symptoms

When left untreated, periodontal disease will continue to worsen to more advanced stages, such as periodontitis that can lead to receding gums, infection, or tooth loss. At Bay City Dental Center, we help our patients in Bay City, MI to improve their gum health. For information on gum disease treatment and to schedule an appointment with Dr. Matthew Ward, give our professional dental team a call today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.