Both periodontitis and gingivitis are similar in a sense that they both cause your gums to swell and soften. While they are both periodontal diseases—or diseases of the gums—learning the difference between the two might save you a lot of cash and trouble in the future, especially when things start to turn serious.
Over 47% of Americans around the age of 30 suffer from some form of periodontal disease. This is often attributed to poor dental hygiene and other similar causes. So, perhaps people are ill-informed when it comes to gum disease, especially the difference between periodontitis and gingivitis. That’s why it’s so important to know how they differ before things get even worse.
The major difference between periodontitis and gingivitis is that gingivitis can be reversed by adopting proper hygiene. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is something more serious, and could entail greater risks when left untreated.
In essence, gingivitis is caused by excess plaque that makes your gums swell. For some people, it may not be as serious as they make it to be, considering that there are actually milder forms of the disease. Symptoms of gingivitis include inflammation and sensitive gums that bleed easily when teeth are improperly brushed.
Gingivitis is usually painless, and for the most part, people who suffer from it usually ignore its symptoms. Undergoing regular oral prophylaxis procedures while observing proper dental hygiene is one very effective way of treating and reversing the effects of gingivitis.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it may escalate into periodontitis, which, in many cases, is irreversible. Periodontitis poses a much greater threat to your dental health, specifically due to the fact that it can lead to long-term issues with your gums, teeth, and mouth.
In periodontitis, the gums soften to such an extent that they droop down from your teeth, forming pockets where food and other things can make their way into. In turn, the food stuck in your gums will slowly degrade, inviting harmful bacteria and causing an infection. Periodontitis, when left untreated, may lead to tooth loss and permanent damage to your gums.
How Do We Treat Periodontitis?
Fortunately, serious gum disease can be treated, depending on how much it has escalated. Dentists recommend either scaling, to remove tartar and bacteria buildup; flap surgery, which involves cutting away the gums to remove tartar that has gathered underneath gum pockets; grafts, to replace infected gum tissue; or antibiotics, either oral or topical, to help reduce swelling.
If you’re concerned about the state of your gums, you may visit your nearest specialist who can advise you on what to do.