Gingivitis, gum disease and periodontitis can often become confused one for another. Since our gingival health has a huge impact on the lifespan of our smiles, understanding gingivitis and gum disease is extremely important.
All forms of gum disease start out as gingivitis. Gingivitis is the inflammation of gum tissues, usually along the gumlines. Symptoms include soreness, tenderness, bleeding, swelling and sometimes even an “itchy” sensation. It is caused by plaque biofilm from buildup up along the gumlines without being thoroughly removed each day. As a result, an inflammatory response is triggered and the body treats the bacterial deposits as if they were an infection inside of the mouth.
Thankfully gingivitis can be completely reversed through dedicated brushing and flossing. When the teeth are thoroughly cleaned between and along the gumlines, gingivitis usually reverses within two weeks.
If gingivitis is not controlled, the condition becomes more serious and invasive. Gum disease (also called periodontal disease or periodontitis) then develops. Symptoms of gum disease include the detachment of gum tissues from the tooth surfaces, followed by bone loss, tooth mobility and ultimately complete tooth loss. Deep pockets develop under the gums, making oral hygiene difficult to maintain. At this point, professional therapy is necessary to eliminate the infection and encourage tissue reattachment.
Regular preventive care appointments can help you avoid gum disease and permanent tooth loss. Most people benefit from a preventive cleaning and periodontal evaluation every 6 months, but people with gum disease may need to have a therapeutic cleaning as frequently as every 3 to 4 months. If you are experiencing signs of gum disease, see your dentist right away.
Posted on behalf of:
Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC
1295 Hembree Rd B202
Roswell, GA 30076
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