Periodontal (gum) disease in adults is the leading cause of tooth loss. So, it is important to understand terms when talking about how to combat the problem. When discussing gum disease, you’ll hear two terms used alongside each other, but what exactly are the differences between gingivitis and periodontitis?
In the early stages, before it becomes irreversible, gingivitis is the term to merely describe the buildup of plaque on the teeth and gums. At this stage, bacteria is flourishing, but the plaque and tartar can be removed with a professional cleaning and consistent oral care at home. The gums will tend to bleed easily when tooth brushing occurs, but the teeth are still firmly rooted in their sockets. So far, there is no loss or damage to the tissue. Neither has there been any bone damage at this point.
Periodontitis is the name given to first stage gum disease. At this point, it is actively destroying gum tissue in the mouth. Unless action is taken, gingivitis will inevitably become periodontal disease as sure as night turns into day. During this stage, the gum and bone start detaching and incrementally pulling away from the teeth. Plaque continues to form below the gum line where it is even more difficult to wipe out. A pocket forms where food particles and debris can reside and infection can occur. As gum disease progresses the pockets get deeper and the damage to the tissue, teeth, and bone continues unabated. As the tissue holding the teeth is destroyed, the teeth become loose and tooth loss can occur.
If you have bleeding gums or are worried about potential gum disease, come and see Dr. David J. Berg for an evaluation. Please contact Studio 1 Dental to make an appointment at: 916.567.0900, or come by our office in Sacramento, California.