Good oral hygiene is something that needs to happen every day. Brushing and flossing, rinsing with mouthwash, and regular visits to the dentist should be routine.
While taking care of our teeth is important for good oral health, many people forget about gum care. Neglecting the gums can lead to gum diseases like periodontitis and gingivitis. A common misconception is that two gum diseases are the same. They’re not. One often precedes the other.
Understanding the causes, symptoms and how to treat and prevent these gum diseases is an important part of maintaining your oral health.
If you believe you have developed either of these forms of gum disease, contact your dentist immediately. For tooth loss as a result of gingivitis or periodontitis, you should consult with a periodontist like the highly-trained dental professionals at EON Clinics. We serve patients throughout Chicagoland, southern Wisconsin, and northwest Indiana. Schedule a free consultation online today or call us at 800-250-3500.
Difference Between Gingivitis and Periodontitis
Gingivitis is when the gums are inflamed. It is a bacteria that appears when plaque builds up along the gum line. With gingivitis, gums are often sore and can bleed when you brush. If people do not get treatment for gingivitis early on, it can develop into periodontitis. Periodontitis is a more severe form of gum disease that causes tissue damage and ultimately, tooth loss. Just because you have gingivitis, does not mean it will turn into periodontitis. If it is treated correctly and early, periodontitis can be prevented. Proper oral hygiene can prevent both of these forms of gum disease from occurring.
Common Causes of Gum Disease
Both gingivitis and periodontitis are caused by a buildup of plaque in the mouth. Plaque is composed of bacteria that, if not removed, can cause oral health problems. Some of these problems can be severe.
There are other causes of gum disease, some of which are difficult to prevent completely. These include:
- Gum sensitivity caused by hormonal changes. This can make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
- HIV, cancer, and other illnesses that interfere and affect your immune system can make it easier for gum disease to develop.
- Certain prescribed medications have been known to affect oral health. This is mainly due to one of the common side effects — a lack of saliva. A continuously dry mouth can make it easier for plaque and bacteria to build up. Saliva acts as a natural barrier on your teeth and gums.
- If you have a family history of gum disease, you might be more prone to developing it yourself.
Failure to practice good oral care with daily brushing and flossing, and regular checkups and cleanings, can allow gum disease to develop. Smoking can also be a contributing factor which is just one more reason to give up the habit.
Symptoms of Gingivitis and Periodontitis
The symptoms of gingivitis are easy to spot. If your gums are red, sore, and bleed when you brush, these are common signs that a bacterial infection is present.
Periodontitis has a few more symptoms. Some may seem minor, while others are noticeably severe. They can include:
- Swollen gums
- Gums that are bright red or even have a purplish tint
- Sore or even painful gums when touched
- Gums that bleed during brushing and flossing
- Spaces developing between teeth
- Receding gums
- Pus forming between teeth
- Teeth that are loose
- Chewing that has become painful
- Any noticeable change in the bite
Bad breath, regardless of how many times you rinse with mouthwash, is another common symptom of both gingivitis and gum disease.
Treatment for Gingivitis and Periodontitis
Treatment for gingivitis generally involves reducing gum tenderness and swelling. This is done by visiting the dentist for a professional cleaning. All plaque, tartar, and bacteria are removed during routine dental cleaning. This is commonly known as scaling and root planing.
Scaling removes all of the buildup on the teeth and underneath the gums. Root planing removes bacteria, smooths the surfaces of the root, and helps prevent further buildup. It is generally done with an ultrasonic device or by laser cleaning. It is a painless procedure that can prevent periodontitis.
Treatment for periodontitis depends on how advanced the disease has become. If it is still in its early stages, scaling, root planing, and antibiotics can eliminate the bacteria. If not detected early, more advanced treatment will be needed. This could include one of two types of minor dental surgery:
- Flap or pocket reduction surgery. This requires small incisions to be made in the gums. These gum sections are lifted for a more thorough cleaning then sutured in place.
- Soft tissue grafts. If the gum line has receded, a small section of tissue is removed from the roof of the mouth and grafted to the part of the gum where the recession has occurred.
Other periodontal disease treatments include bone grafting, guided tissue regeneration, and stimulating tissue regrowth with a protein-enhanced oral gel.
Preventing Gum Disease
It’s not difficult to prevent these types of gum disease. Good oral hygiene is critical, so brush and floss daily, eat healthy foods, and limit sugar intake. It is also important to see your dentist for a checkup and teeth cleaning every six months. If the disease has progressed to the stage where tooth extraction becomes necessary, your dentist can refer you to a periodontist or prosthodontist who specializes in dental implant surgery and tooth replacement.
Schedule a Visit with a Periodontist Today!
EON Clinics employs highly-trained teams of prosthodontists, oral surgeons, and periodontists who to treat gum disease and perform all types of dental implant procedures. The oral health professionals who work in our offices are highly-trained. They put cutting-edge technology to use in our in-house labs. This creates a one-stop shop for all dental implant needs at clinics throughout Chicagoland, southern Wisconsin, and northwest Indiana.
From single and multiple tooth to full jaw All-on-4 dental implants, EON Clinics helps patients enjoy eating and smiling again. Find out how dental implants can improve your life. Schedule a free consultation online today or call us at 800-250-3500.