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Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis

If left untreated, gum diseases can become serious threats to both oral health and overall health. Understanding the different types of gum diseases or periodontal diseases is important to identifying, treating, and preventing such diseases. Two common types of periodontal diseases are gingivitis and periodontitis.

As a general dentistry service to patients in Los Angeles, California, Dr. Alexander Ash of Studio Dental Care provides information regarding gum diseases, such as gingivitis and periodontitis.


Gingivitis is caused by a plaque buildup along the gum lines in the mouth from improper oral care. Gingivitis may be reversed and further prevented with routine brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist’s office. Signs and symptoms may include but are not limited to red and inflamed gums, irritation, tenderness during brushing and flossing, and the beginning of receding gums.

If continued untreated, however, gingivitis may lead to a more serious condition known as periodontitis.


Periodontitis is a further developed periodontal disease than gingivitis with similar symptoms such as inflamed gums, irritation during brushing, and pain during eating. However, periodontitis suggests that patients have more tartar buildup that creates a separation of the gum from the teeth, creating pockets. These pockets allow excess bacteria to build up which may lead to a greater infection. Signs and symptoms of progressing periodontitis include receding gums, red and inflamed gums, pain and discomfort while chewing, sores in the mouth, and lose or sensitive teeth.

In order to diagnose periodontitis, dentists review a patient’s medical history as well as their current age. For example, teenagers may experience gingivitis but are oftentimes less likely to experience periodontitis due to the time it takes to develop—although it depends on each individual patient.

If diagnosed with periodontitis, individuals and dentists have a variety of options to treat the infection depending on the progression of the condition. Tooth scaling is a possible and less invasive procedure, which consists of cleaning andremoving the built-up tartar from the gum line and smoothing the tooth to prevent bacteria from easily sticking to the surface. Another option to treating periodontitis is Flap surgery, performed by a periodontist, where tartar is removed and any remaining pockets are closed with stitches. Reducing the pockets makes it easier for patients to brush and floss with less discomfort and sensitivity.

For more information regarding, gingivitis and periodontitis, explore the ADA’s official Mouth Healthy website by clicking HERE.

For more information regarding dental health, contact Dr. Alexander Ash of Studio Dental Care located in Studio City. Dr. Ash provides routine dental procedures, teeth cleanings, and x-rays for patients in the greater Los Angeles, Burbank, and Toluca Lake areas. In addition, Dr. Ash satisfies general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry needs, as well as provides interesting dental facts. For more information including teeth whitening, periodontal diseases,dental implants, veneers, routine cleanings, fillings, bridges, dentures, and sedation dentistry for fearful patients contact Studio Dental Care.


  • ucla
  • Weill Cornell Medical College - Cornell University
  • Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • John Hopkins Medicine
  • University of maryland
  • USC

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