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What are the clinical differences between gingivitis and periodontitis?


This question was submitted by a general dentist: What are the clinical differences between gingivitis and periodontitis?

Dr. Sayed Mirbod, representing the Canadian Academy Periodontology (CAP), provided this initial quick response: 

Chronic marginal gingivitis is clinically characterized by gingival redness, edema, bleeding, changes in contour, loss of tissue adaptation to the teeth, and increased flow of gingival crevicular fluid.(1,2). Bacteria plaque is thought to induce pathological changes in the tissues by both direct and indirect means which is clinically manifested as gingivitis.

In the case of periodontitis, loss of the connective tissue attachment occurs in addition to clinical signs and symptoms of gingival inflammation. In other words, in periodontitis, there is a loss of the periodontal ligament and disruption of its attachment to cementum as well as resorption of alveolar bone (3).


  1. Cimasoni G. Crevicular fluid updated. Monogr Oral Sci. 1983;12:III-VII, 1-152.
  2. Greenstein G. The role of bleeding upon probing in the diagnosis of periodontal disease. A literature review. J Periodontol. 1984;55(12):684-8.
  3. Listgarten MA. Pathogenesis of periodontitis. J Clin Periodontol. 1986;13(5):418-30.


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1 Comment

  1. Abdulkarem June 10, 2016

    How you can differentiate between the chronic gingivitis and chronic periodontitis histologically/


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