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Periodontitis and Gingivitis – What’s the Difference?

3 happy women smilingAround 47% of adult Americans suffer from some level of gum disease. This is almost half of us! The main problem with gum disease is that most people are uneducated about what it is, what causes it, and how to avoid it. One of the most common confusions results from the difference between the levels of gum disease. Many people use the terms “periodontitis” and “gingivitis” interchangeably, but there are important differences between the two.

Differences Between Gingivitis and Periodontitis

Gingivitis and periodontitis are both a form of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Gingivitis is less severe and can be reversed. However, periodontitis is a more advanced form of gum disease and can’t be reversed because at this level, there’s already bone loss.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is gum inflammation caused by having a buildup of plaque on your teeth. You may not even be aware that you are suffering from gingivitis, as it’s painless in the early stages. Some symptoms to look out for include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Bright red gums
  • Gums that bleed easily, especially when flossed or brushed

It’s important to come in as soon as you notice any of these symptoms. Gingivitis can be treated and reversed before any real damage is done. But the earlier it can be caught, the better.

Periodontitis

If gingivitis goes untreated for too long, it will eventually develop into periodontitis. As your gums become more and more inflamed, they will begin to pull up and away from the teeth. This will create pockets, where bacteria will start to build up. This will cause pain and sensitivity, sores in the mouth, pain when you chew or loosening teeth.

If caught early enough, gingivitis may be as easy to treat as a stricter brushing and flossing routine. However, if you let it go untreated, periodontitis can eventually lead to tooth loss. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of gingivitis or periodontitis, please contact your general dentist for a checkup and a cleaning.

Here at Endodontic Specialists of Colorado, we know how important gum health is to the overall health of your teeth and mouth. To contact our office, please call Endodontic Specialists with locations in both Pueblo and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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