The Difference Between Gingivitis and Periodontitis

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The leading cause of tooth loss in adults is gum disease. When talking about gum disease, you hear two terms alongside each other, but what exactly are the differences between gingivitis and periodontitis?

Gingivitis is what happens at the beginning stages of potential gum disease. At this stage, bacteria is flourishing due to the buildup of plaque on the teeth and gums. 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 fully-developed stage at which gum disease is active and destroying gum tissue in the mouth. Untreated, gingivitis will turn into periodontal disease unless action is taken. 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 clean away. A pocket forms where food particles and debris can reside and infection 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. Barton Barré for an evaluation. Please contact Barré Dental Care to make an appointment with our dentist at: 504-367-0355, or come by our office in Harvey, Louisiana.