Gingivitis and Periodontitis: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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While these two issues are a bit different in their seriousness, both gingivitis and periodontitis signal the onset of disease in the gums and jaw bone. If not treated, inflammation can very quickly lead to infected gums, tooth loss, and damage to the tissue within the bone and gums.

Dealing With Gingivitis and Periodontitis

In this guide, we take a look at the two issues to find out how to understand, diagnose and treat common bone and gum diseases at every stage.

What’s the Difference Between Gingivitis and Periodontitis?

Gingivitis is gum inflammation, while periodontitis is full-blown gum disease with jaw bone recession. Usually, gum disease begins with inflammation. In its early stages, bacteria in plaque build up, causing inflamed gums that bleed and feel sensitive. At this stage, teeth are still secure and no serious damage has been done. If left unchecked, gingivitis can easily lead to more serious problems, such as periodontal disease. That is why you cannot afford to ignore gingivitis and periodontitis at any stage.

What Causes Gum and Bone Disease?

Plaque is typically the biggest cause of gum disease, including inflammation and infection. Various other factors can contribute to gingivitis and periodontal disease, such as the following:

  • Hormonal changes, such as those occurring during pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and menstruation, can increase the risk of gingivitis.
  • Illnesses may affect the condition of your gums.
  • Medications can also affect oral health.
  • Smoking makes it harder for gum tissue to repair.
  • Poor oral hygiene habits increase the risk of gingivitis and other problems.
  • Genetics can be a contributing factor in the development of gum disease.

What Are the Signs ?

Both of these issues can often progress without any obvious signs of pain – even in the later stages of periodontal disease. There are, however, a few warning signs to look out for during a dental exam:

  • Gums that bleed during or after teeth are brushed
  • Red, swollen or sensitive gums
  • Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
  • Receding gums and bone.
  • Deep pockets that form between teeth and gums due to bone loss.
  • Loose or moving teeth
  • Changes in your bite

How Do You Treat it?

Treatment of full-blown periodontal disease or gingivitis could include non-surgical or surgical options, and depend on how serious the disease has become and your own preferences.

 

  • Non-surgical. Non-invasive treatments include antibiotics as well as a deep-cleaning procedure called tooth scaling and root planning that removes tartar and plaque from teeth right down to the roots.

 

  • Surgical. Surgical treatments include reduction of the pockets that form at the gum line, procedures that regenerate lost bone and tissue, procedures that remove excess gum tissue, and procedures that graft soft tissue onto gums.

 

  • Other treatments. Over and beyond these options, you can also help in your own recovery by getting regular check-ups, following a proper dental health routine, and quitting smoking.

The first step in dealing with either of these issues is to see a dentist that is able to recommend the best course of treatment. Contact Gateway Dental today to find out more about seeing a dentist in Durban and surrounds who has the skill and experience to treat gingivitis and periodontitis.

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