Gum Disease: Gingivitis vs Periodontal Disease

Difference between gingivitis vs periodontal gum disease
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Everyone knows it’s important to brush and floss your teeth regularly. It’s also critical to the health of your mouth to make sure that you keep your gums healthy.

If you don’t keep your gums healthy, bacteria can grow around your teeth and the gum line. The impact of this can start as gum irritation, which is known as gingivitis. The longer it is left untreated, the worse it gets. If it gets infected, it turns into gum disease, also known as periodontal disease.

The good news is that periodontal disease can be treated, but the earlier it’s caught, the better! We’re going to explain to you the following:

  • What gingivitis is
  • What periodontal disease is
  • How gingivitis and periodontal disease can impact your health

We’ll also let you know how we can treat periodontal disease at Bristol Dental. If you do have it, you’re not alone. 7 out of 10 Canadians will develop some type of gum disease in their lifetime.

What is gingivitis?

You may have seen ads on TV for products claiming to fight gingivitis. You can tell from the products that it has something to do with your mouth, but it often isn’t stated clearly what gingivitis is.

Gingivitis happens when the bacteria in plaque builds up on your teeth. If the bacteria isn’t removed properly, it starts building up and may cause your gums to become inflamed. If this happens, you may notice that your gums bleed or get irritated when you brush or floss.

The good news is that gingivitis can be easily treated. If you keep up with regular brushing and flossing, it may go away on its own. If not, you can come to us at Bristol Dental for deep cleaning to help clear out the plaque and bacteria.

It’s very important to treat gingivitis before it advances into periodontal disease.

What is periodontal disease?

If you have gingivitis and don’t treat it — either by yourself or professionally — it can progress and become periodontal disease. The health implications of periodontal disease are much more serious than those of gingivitis.

There are three main types of periodontal disease:

  1. Chronic Periodontitis

    This is the most common type of periodontal disease. It is more prevalent in adults than in children. The most common symptoms are receding gums and pockets occurring between your gums and your teeth.

  2. Aggressive Periodontitis

    This type of periodontal disease can occur in both adults and children. If a child develops it, they may even lose some of their teeth before they turn 20! If you or your child have aggressive periodontitis, you may not feel any pain, but you may have red or swollen gums, as well as pus around your gums and bad breath.

  3. Necrotizing Periodontitis

    This type of periodontal disease is the most severe. It can cause serious damage, destroying tissues, ligaments, and even the bones in your mouth. It is most commonly found in people who smoke, are malnourished, or who are immuno-compromised.

Impact of Gum Disease

When you have gum disease, the bacteria in plaque starts to break down both the bone and connective tissues that hold your teeth in place. If left untreated, the pockets will slowly deepen and start to destroy more gum tissue and bone. If this happens, your teeth will no longer be held in place, and they may fall out.

You can also end up with an infection. If it spreads, it can cause damage to the rest of your mouth and even your jaw. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. The longer it proceeds, the more damage it can cause, which is why it’s so important to catch it early. It can also increase your risk of other health complications, including:

  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Issues in pregnancy
  • Dementia

The impact of periodontal disease goes far beyond just having an unsightly smile or sore gums. It can impact your overall health and cause serious damage if left untreated.

How can we help you if you have periodontal disease?

We have experienced dentists who are familiar with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease. If you have periodontal disease or are just concerned that you may have it, book an appointment with your dentist. At your first appointment, your dentist will:

  1. Ask questions about any medical condition you may have
  2. Examine your gums to see if you have any gum line recession
  3. Check the bite and strength of your teeth to see if any of them are loose
  4. Examine your teeth and gums to see if you have any periodontal pockets and how big they are
  5. If necessary, take an X-ray of the bone below your gum line

Once this is done, they will provide you with an assessment of your gums’ health and put together a treatment plan for you. There are a wide variety of periodontal treatments:

  • Cleaning or removing damaged root tissue
  • Scaling and root planing (cleaning the infected surface of the root)
  • Crown lengthening
  • Gum graft surgery (often used to treat receding gums)
  • Regenerative procedures to help heal your gums

The type of treatment you will need will depend on how far advanced your periodontal disease has progressed.

Protect Yourself Against Gum Disease

Taking good care of your teeth and your gums are integral to your overall health. We’ve explained to you today all of the following:

  • What both gingivitis and periodontal disease are
  • How gingivitis can progress into periodontal disease and how it can impact your health
  • How we can help you if you do have periodontal disease

If you have any concerns about your gums or teeth, we’re happy to have you make an appointment. We’ll take a look and let you know if you have periodontal disease and how we can help you.

To learn more about gum disease and the difference between periodontal disease and gingivitis, call Bristol Dental at 905-712-3409 or contact us here.

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