Understanding Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis

Gingivitis vs. PeriodontitisGum disease is a hot topic among dental professionals because it can have serious consequences for your oral and physical health. When bacteria accumulate in your gums, they can cause tooth loss, gum recession, and many other problems. However, if you are worried about protecting your oral health, you may also be wondering about gingivitis vs. periodontitis. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. When you catch the condition in this earlier phase, it is much easier to treat. However, we can still provide aggressive and effective treatment for periodontitis, the second stage of gum disease.

Gum Disease Is a Two-Stage Condition

When bacteria begin to multiply in your mouth, they will eventually move from your teeth to your gum line. At first, the microbes will only cause mild irritation, redness, and bleeding. This stage is known as gingivitis. If you notice the symptoms of this condition, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Early care can permanently arrest gum disease and protect your healthy smile for life.

However, if these symptoms go untreated, gingivitis will become periodontitis. When this happens, the bacteria will move into your gum tissue, where they will form pockets. As the bacteria multiply and the pockets get larger, your soft tissues will start to pull away from your jawbone and teeth. Symptoms of periodontitis include significant gum irritation, bleeding, loose teeth, bad breath, receding gums, and missing teeth. In severe cases, your jawbone may even be affected, and it may start to recede, as well.

Treating Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis

Besides the severity of the symptoms, a big difference in gingivitis vs. periodontitis is the recommended treatments. If you suffer from gingivitis, we will typically perform a thorough dental cleaning. We will remove the bacteria from your teeth and gum line. We may also recommend a prescription mouthwash to make sure all bacteria has been eliminated.

If you suffer from periodontitis, there are several treatment options. Scaling and root planing (a deep cleaning) is one of the most common. We will remove bacteria from below your gum line. We often use antibiotics in conjunction with a deep cleaning for the most effective care possible. Unfortunately, there is no cure for periodontitis, although treatment can repair damage and keep your symptoms under control. Nevertheless, you will need to be extremely proactive in the future to prevent a flare-up of periodontitis.


With over 25 years of professional experience, Dr. Steven M. Huffstutler and his caring team proudly provide exceptional preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dental treatment to patients and their families. Our patients come from across Dallas/Ft. Worth, including North Richland Hills, Denton, the Mid-cities, Southlake, and all surrounding communities. We also have extensive experience helping patients find relief from painful TMJ disorders (various forms of jaw dysfunction). To schedule an appointment with Dr. Huffstutler, contact our office today by calling 817-918-3038.