As your dentist in Phoenix might have told you, gingivitis and periodontitis are both gum diseases. However, some get confused and interchange the two, which is why we came up with this post to provide information on how one is different from the other.

periodontist phoenix dentist in phoenixGingivitis

This is the inflammation of the gums that usually precedes periodontitis (but not all gingivitis lead to periodontitis). In its early stage, bacteria in plaque accumulate and inflame the gums. This then causes easy bleeding especially after brushing or flossing. At this stage, nonetheless, no tissue or bone damage has occurred yet – the tooth is still firmly planted in its socket.

In gingivitis, the gums become red and swollen and, as mentioned earlier, can bleed easily. However, this is a mild gum disease that can be remedied through daily brushing and flossing, and a regular cleaning by your dentist.


In some cases, when gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis wherein the bone and inner gum layer pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These spaces in-between the gums and teeth eventually collect bacteria and debris, leading to infection.

As the body’s immune response, it produces “good” enzymes to fight off the bacterial build-up. However, these enzymes together with the toxins produced by the bacteria will start to break down the connective tissues and bone that support the teeth. As the cycle progresses, the pockets deepen, and more bone and gum tissues are damaged. As a result, the teeth become loose and eventually fall off. This being said, periodontitis is one of the leading causes of tool loss in adults.


  1. Mild Periodontitis – This involves the accumulation of calculus that begins to advance beneath the gumline. To prevent progression and infection, professional cleaning such as scaling will have to be performed. Your dentist will also provide home care instructions to further aid healing.
  1. Moderate Periodontitis – The deterioration has begun and initial stage of pocket formation is evident – gum tissue starts to separate from the teeth. Bacterial build-up will accumulate within the pockets, cause infection and destruction of support structures. If proper intervention is not provided, this can lead to deterioration of the supporting bone and eventual tooth loss.
  1. Sever Periodontitis – At this stage, the depth of the pockets are already extreme, and bacterial infection has begun to damage gum tissue, bone and other support structures. This will loosen the teeth and may even necessitate extraction. Treatment for this stage may require four or more visits to your dentist for deep cleaning (scaling and planing). If necessary, surgical treatment involving grafting will also be done to replace damaged gum tissue and bone.

Even with the advent of technology, products and techniques in dentistry, millions of people still suffer from tooth loss because of gum disease. Protect your pearly whites by practicing proper oral hygiene and visiting your periodontist. Phoenix residents can always trust our team at Sky Dental Alliance.