When Does Gingivitis Become Gum Disease?

Gingivitis. It’s one of the most common infections to affect adults and children alike. Fortunately, as long as you catch it early, gingivitis can be treated and completely reversed.

What are the Symptoms of Gingivitis?

Usually, gingivitis presents itself as redness and swelling along the edges of the gums. Your gums may also bleed when you’re brushing or flossing your teeth.

This infection is caused by bacterial plaque congregating along the gumlines, triggering an immune response in your soft tissues. You’d see the same thing on your skin if there were a small cut that always stayed dirty and wasn’t cleaned off thoroughly. The inflammation is your body’s way of trying to attack the bacteria.

Gingivitis vs. Gum Disease

Technically speaking, gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. When it isn’t treated in a timely manner, those swollen, red tissues begin to detach from the surface of the tooth roots. In turn, the underlying bone also shrinks away. What’s left are large “periodontal pockets” under the gums, harboring plaque and tartar bacteria around the teeth.

You might have already guessed, but this progression of disease is one that easily compounds and becomes difficult to manage. Periodontal disease or “periodontitis” is the more aggressive stage of gum disease, where loss of tissue attachment is present. Unfortunately, periodontal disease can’t be reversed or treated on your own with brushing and flossing the way you can with gingivitis.

Is One Worse Than the Other?

Yes. Gingivitis can be reversed within just a couple of weeks of dedicated brushing and flossing. If you’re ill, forgot your floss when you went out of town, or were in the hospital and didn’t keep up with your oral hygiene, you can get things back on track within a couple of weeks and prevent the infection from physically destructing your gum and bone tissues.

On the other hand, periodontal disease can jeopardize the integrity of your overall smile, constantly destroying the bone and spreading tooth to tooth. Aside from tooth loss, aggressive gum disease is also linked to health complications like diabetes, heart disease, infertility, pneumonia, and others.

Treatment for Gum Disease in The Woodlands

Dr. Kip Saunders is one of The Woodlands’ most experienced periodontal specialists. His years of practice and advanced training — combined with our state-of-the-art technology — allow us to provide impeccable care for patients who are at risk of losing their smiles. Our comprehensive periodontal therapies range from laser gum treatments to full mouth restoration with implants and more.

Know the Warning Signs

The earlier periodontal disease is treated, the better. Don’t wait until the symptoms become severe before you start to seek out help. Watch for warning signs like:

  • Gum recession
  • Sensitive or sore teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Heavy tartar buildup
  • Space between teeth
  • Tooth mobility

If you’ve already been diagnosed with periodontal disease or suspect that something is going on, call our gum specialist in The Woodlands today. We’re committed to helping you get your smile back on the right track.

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