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Periodontitis vs Gingivitis: What is the Difference?

Posted on 5/1/2024 by Gwinnett Dental Implant & Periodontal Center
a close up of a mouth with inflamed gumsPeriodontitis and gingivitis are two dental conditions that are commonly confused with each other. This is not surprising, as both conditions affect the gums and have similar symptoms. Still, they have major differences in terms of severity and potential consequences. Learning these differences can help you prevent and manage both conditions more effectively.

What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is the early version of periodontitis. It is mostly characterized by red, swollen gums. The condition occurs when bacteria from food build up to form a sticky film on the teeth called plaque. The plaque irritates the gums and consequently causes inflammation. In addition to the swollen gums, gingivitis is also characterized by bad breath (halitosis) and bleeding in the gums when brushing.

While it is generally a mild condition, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis if left untreated. As such, it is best to visit a dentist as soon as possible.

What is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is a severe gum infection that is typically caused by an untreated gingivitis infection. According to the CDC, periodontitis affects about 40 percent of adults aged 30 and above in the United States.

What makes gum disease so serious is the fact that it does not just affect the gums but can also damage the jawbone. When this happens, you get problems like loose teeth, receding gums, which make teeth appear longer, and pain when chewing. Other symptoms of gum disease include deep, empty pockets between the teeth and gums and possibly tooth loss. For patients with diabetes or heart disease, gum disease can be devastating as it can worsen the two conditions.

Treating Gingivitis and Periodontitis

Both gingivitis and periodontitis are treatable conditions and have minimal downtimes. You only need a few dental visits. Potential treatments include dental cleaning, antiseptic mouthwash, antibiotics, and even surgery in the case of advanced gum disease. Get in touch with our dentist today for additional consultation and treatment for all forms of gum infection.

Gwinnett Dental Implant & Periodontal Center

Dr. Melody J. Schiffer
Dr. Gary Greenwald
Dr. Andrew Kurialacherry
Dr. Nisha Kancherla

(470) 222-8983

320 Killian Hill Road NW
Lilburn, GA 30047-3809

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Gwinnett Dental Implant & Periodontal Center, 320 Killian Hill Road NW, Lilburn, GA 30047, (470) 222-8983,, 6/21/2024, Page Keywords: dental implants Lilburn,