Gingivitis and Periodontitis

Gingivitis, which is the inflammation of the gums, must be treated as soon as it is discovered. Unfortunately, many people fail to treat gingivitis when they should. When treatment is delayed or when the gingivitis is not treated at all, the patient is likely to suffer from periodontitis. This serious gum infection is incredibly common throughout the United States.


Periodontitis destroys the bone and soft tissue that serve to support the teeth. When these vital oral components are compromised, teeth may fall out. Even worse, periodontitis can develop and place patients at risk for a variety of serious health complications. Most often the outcome of poor dental hygiene, it is absolutely essential for every patient to maintain good oral hygiene to help prevent periodontitis.

Prevention of periodontitis lies in the ability to keep the mouth free from bacteria and plaque buildup. Being aware of the most common risk factors and symptoms may prevent this infection from further developing. If you believe that you may be suffering from some type of gum disease, you must contact a West Palm Beach dentist as soon as possible to schedule an appointment.

Periodontitis Symptoms

Periodontitis is broken into different classes. The most common of them is chronic periodontitis, which mostly affects adults. Aggressive periodontitis, on the other hand, is much rarer than chronic periodontitis, only affecting about 1-2 percent of the population. This is much more common in children or those in early adulthood. Being aware of the most common signs and symptoms associated with periodontitis will help patient to seek the care that they need in a timely manner.

Delaying treatment for this type of gum disease can lead to a number of serious health complications. The following are the most common symptoms of periodontitis:

  • Purplish or bright red gums
  • Gums are swollen
  • Receding gums (pulling away from the teeth)
  • Development of new spaces between teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Formation of pus between gums and teeth
  • Teeth do not fit together when biting down the same way they used to
  • Bad taste in the mouth

Those patients who are able to recognize these signs sooner rather than later will be in a much better position to properly treat the infection. The longer a patient delays, the greater the likelihood of a much more serious issue. There are a variety of risk factors that increase the probability that periodontitis will develop. Patients must be aware of the following risk factors:

  • Older age
  • Heredity
  • Some medications
  • Tobacco use
  • Gingivitis
  • Bad oral hygiene
  • Diabetes
  • Substance abuse
  • Poor nutrition
  • Changes in hormones

Plaque is the true root of all gum disease. When plaque forms on the teeth and is not immediately brushed away, it will harden and become tartar under your gum line. As the plaque and tartar continue to remain on the teeth and gum line, gingivitis is likely to form. When left untreated, patients run the risk of periodontitis.

Treatment of Gum Disease

Treating periodontitis will depend largely on the severity of the infection. These treatments may be performed by a periodontist, dentist, or dental hygienist. No matter what treatment is given to the patient, it is vital to maintain good oral hygiene to prevent any further damage from occurring.

The following nonsurgical treatments are used to help reduce the effects of periodontitis:

  • Root planning
  • Antibiotics
  • Scaling

These will typically work when the periodontitis is in the beginning stages and not very severe. The following treatments are for more serious forms of periodontitis:

  • Bone grafting
  • Soft tissue grafts
  • Flap surgery
  • Enamel matrix derivative application
  • Guided tissue regeneration

For more information, please contact James Family Dentistry at your earliest convenience.

Get in touch