Periodontal (gum) disease is one of the top oral health conditions in the United States. It’s characterized by gum tissue inflammation and infection, and it poses a serious risk to your teeth and your overall oral health.
Gum disease starts with mild inflammation called gingivitis. If it’s left untreated, it progresses to periodontitis, which can cause serious problems like bone deterioration and tooth loss.
Fortunately, treatment has the power to prevent and even reverse the damage from gum disease. At Arcadia Perio, our periodontal surgical specialists, J. Paul Fuentes, DDS, DABP, and Andrew Peterson, DMD, MS, and our team specialize in the most advanced gum disease treatments.
Here’s what you need to know about the differences between gingivitis and periodontitis, and what to do about them.
Gingivitis: early-stage gum disease
Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. It develops when bacteria from food turns to sticky plaque on your teeth. The bacteria irritates and infects the gum tissue around the bases of your teeth.
Symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
- Tender gums
- Swollen gums
- Dark red gums
- Bad breath
Gingivitis damages your gums and teeth over time. Treating gingivitis can effectively stop the infection and even reverse some of the damage to your oral health. But if it’s left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis — a much more serious infection.
Periodontitis: advanced gum disease
Periodontitis is a serious form of gum disease. It develops when gingivitis goes untreated and the infection gets worse. Periodontitis continues damaging your gum tissue, and it can spread to your jawbone.
Periodontitis causes all the same symptoms as gingivitis, including swelling, tender gums, and bleeding when you brush or floss. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include:
- Pain with chewing or biting
- Widening gaps between teeth
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Pus between teeth and gums
- Bite changes
Once gum disease progresses from gingivitis to periodontitis, the more severe damage can’t be reversed. Fortunately, treatment can stop disease progression and help preserve your oral health.
What to do about gum disease
While gum disease is common, it’s almost always preventable with good oral hygiene and regular dental care.
Everyone should go to the dentist twice a year for routine cleanings. These cleanings are the best way to remove bacteria and plaque buildup, which is the leading cause of gum disease.
Our team checks for signs of gingivitis at your appointments. If you have gingivitis, we may recommend deep cleaning to help reverse damage.
If you have periodontitis, we offer a range of specialized treatments, like:
- Gum and tissue grafting
- Laser assisted new attachment procedure (LANAP®) laser dentistry
- Periodontal surgery
- Regenerative therapy
These treatments address decay, treat infection, and stimulate healing to help prevent further damage from gum disease.
When it comes to your oral health care, early intervention is important. Find out more about the warning signs of gum disease and get a full checkup at Arcadia Perio. Contact us online or call our Arcadia, California, office at 626-662-1084 for an appointment.