It is important to know that gum disease tops the list of reasons why adults lose their teeth. So, when speaking about the issue, it is vital to understand the language in order to combat the problem. There are two descriptive terms used when discussing periodontitis (gum) disease, but what exactly are the differences between gingivitis and periodontitis?
In the beginning stages, prior to it becoming unstoppable, gingivitis is the word that describes plaque accumulation on the teeth and gums. At this stage, bacteria is increasing, but the plaque and tartar can be dislodged with professional cleaning at the dentist and consistent oral care at home. Bleeding gums may occur when brushing, but the teeth are still firmly lodged in their sockets. There is no tissue loss or damage yet, neither has there been any damage to the bone at this point.
The next level of gum disease is technically the first true stage where the gum tissue is being irretrievably destroyed. It is called periodontitis, and it is a point of no return. You do not want gingivitis to advance this far. Action needs to be taken right away or it will inevitably become periodontal disease and tooth loss will not be far behind. Periodontitis is when the gum and bone begin to detach and pull away from the teeth in small increments. Plaque continues to form below the gum line where it is even more difficult to clear away. Pockets form under the gumline and leftover debris may become infected. As gum disease progresses, the pockets get deeper and damage to the tissue, teeth, and bone continues unabated. As the tissue holding the teeth is destroyed the teeth become loose and tooth loss can occur.
If you have bleeding gums or are worried about potential gum disease, come and see Dr. Steven A. Beuligmann for an evaluation. Please contact our office to make an appointment at: 760.729.5964, or come by our office in Carlsbad, California.