Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that can lead to bleeding, swelling, and other issues. Periodontal disease is a more serious form of gum disease that can damage the tissue and bone supporting the teeth. While both conditions are serious, periodontal disease is more likely to cause tooth loss. Here’s a look at the differences between gingivitis and periodontal disease.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. It is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. Plaque can irritate the gums, causing them to become red, swollen, and bleed easily.
Gingivitis is a reversible condition. With proper oral hygiene, it can be cleared up in a matter of weeks. However, if left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a more serious form of gum disease. It is caused by plaque that has not been removed and has begun to damage the gums and bone supporting the teeth.
Periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss. It is also associated with an increased risk of other health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Treatment for Gingivitis vs Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis can be treated with a good oral hygiene routine, which includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash. If gingivitis does not improve with these measures, a dentist may recommend a professional cleaning.
Periodontal disease requires more aggressive treatment. A dentist may recommend a deep cleaning, in which plaque and tartar are removed from below the gum line. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair damage caused by periodontal disease.
Prevention of Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease
The best way to prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash. It is also important to see a dentist regularly for professional cleanings.
If you have gingivitis or periodontal disease, it is important to follow your dentist’s recommendations for treatment. With proper care, you can prevent the progression of gum disease and keep your teeth healthy.
Which Condition is Worse?
While both gingivitis and periodontal disease are serious, periodontal disease is more likely to cause tooth loss. This is why it is important to see a dentist regularly and to practice good oral hygiene. Gingivitis is actually the predecessor to periodontal disease. Once you let gingivitis get out of control, it will develop into periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the milder form of periodontal disease, so it stands to reason that periodontal disease is the worse of the two. If you have either gingivitis or periodontal disease, be sure to see your dentist as soon as possible for treatment.
Contact Lane and Associates Family Dentistry
We have locations throughout North Carolina, including Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Garner, Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest. If you believe that you have some form of gum disease, schedule an appointment with one of our dentists today. We can help you determine if you have gingivitis or periodontal disease and develop a treatment plan to keep your smile healthy.