In case you didn’t know, gingivitis is a medical term that refers to the inflammation of gums (gingiva) which often results in swollen, red, and bleeding gum issues. Gingivitis is a mild and early stage of periodontal disease or gum disease. If not attended to on time, gingivitis can also advance to a much more severe gum disease known as periodontitis, which often leads to tooth loss. Bad oral hygiene is the most common cause of gingivitis. Fortunately, gingivitis treatments are possible. If you floss daily, brush your teeth twice a day, and have your teeth checked by a professional dentist regularly, you can easily prevent gingivitis and successfully stop the progression of such gum diseases.
You may notice inflammation in the marginal gum line, attached gums areas, or interdental gum tissues (also known as papillary gingivitis). Gingivitis can be either chronic or acute and each case will require specific gingivitis treatments. If you want to find out what gingivitis looks like, you must look for the following signs and symptoms:
Sore and red gums surrounding teeth
- Gums that bleed easily during flossing or brushing
- Extra puffy gums, known as gingival hyperplasia
- Inflammation in the gums
- Dental plaque which is a sticky biofilm on teeth and hosts bacteria
- Sensitivity and pain in your gums
- Loose teeth
- Receding gums that leave tooth roots exposed. Ideally, gums are firm around teeth, but in periodontal disease cases, gums often pull away from the teeth.
In most cases, bad oral hygiene is the main cause of gingivitis since it tends to lead to plaque buildup on your teeth. Plaque is a layer that adheres to your teeth and tends to host bacteria. When you drink or eat, the bacteria present in the plaque feed on the sugar in your food and continue to thrive. If you do not remove any accumulated plaque from your teeth daily, it will eventually harden into calculus.
The plaque will occupy the surface of your teeth, especially the area between your teeth and the gums (known as the gum line), the interdental spaces, and any other hard-to-reach areas of teeth. Any unremoved plaque buildup may cause inflammation in the surrounding gum tissues around your teeth and cause tooth decay. This is when gingivitis starts to show with redness, swelling, and changes in the texture and form of the gums.
If not treated on time, gingivitis will eventually advance to periodontitis, where small pockets of infection form in your underlying gum tissues, receding gum tissues and affecting the supporting bone structure, ultimately resulting in tooth loss. Knowing the primary causes and taking quick action to prevent or treat gingivitis is critical. Primary causes of gingivitis include:
· Improper Oral Care
Improper oral hygiene is one of the primary risk factors for gingivitis to develop. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing every day is one of the easiest ways to prevent plaque accumulation. Improper cleaning of gums and allowing plaque to inhibit the space between your gums is a significant risk that you need to be aware of.
· Tobacco Use and Smoking
Smoking and using tobacco products like chewing tobacco also contribute to periodontal diseases, including gingivitis.
A lot of stress tends to impact your immune system’s reaction toward diseases and infections, including infections in the mouth like gingivitis. Stress can also cause some types of gingivitis, like necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis.
· Certain Drugs
Certain medications like anti-seizure drugs Dilantin (phenytoin), birth control pills, calcium channel blocker drugs, and immunosuppressant drugs are often risk factors for developing gingivitis.
· Ill-Fitting and Unhygienic Dental Appliances
If you are wearing any removable dental appliances, you must clean them regularly. If your instrument does not seem to fit well, is not routinely cleaned, and is not removed as recommended by the doctor, the overall risk of fungal development and infections tends to increase. This form of condition will be a contributing factor to gingivitis.
Other Common Causes Of Gingivitis Include:
- Dry mouth
- Mouth breathing
- Hereditary and genetic factors
- Viral infections
- Cracked or worn restoration (like broken filling)
- Immunodeficiency diseases like HIV
A Professional Can Diagnose Gingivitis
A professional dentist can easily detect if you have gingivitis by:
Asking Questions about Your Medical History
It allows your dentist to learn more about other symptoms and signs, duration, medications used, and other pre-existing conditions.
Any Symptoms That Are Present
Symptoms help professionals check for plaque buildup, inflammation, and bleeding around the gums and teeth. Such physical examinations are the quickest ways your dentist can diagnose gingivitis.
An x-ray can show any infected underlying gum tissues or any possibility of pocket formation around the supporting bones.
Once gingivitis is detected, your dentist will plan the best gingivitis treatments for you. You may also be referred to a periodontist, a professional dentist who specializes in treating periodontal diseases, depending on the overall scale of gingivitis or the difficulty of your treatment.
Effective Gingivitis Treatments
The most effective treatment for gingivitis is good oral hygiene. It may sound straightforward, but a dentist’s priority in treating gingivitis is maintaining oral health and regularly eliminating plaque on teeth.
The best course of action for you can vary based on your gingivitis conditions. If your gingivitis is still in its early stages, it will make things much easier. However, a dentist will try out a few more options in severe cases. Below are the top treatment options for gingivitis:
A professional dentist can arrange an appointment for the best treatment for gum disease. They can easily perform:
- Root planning to remove any accumulated calculus and plaque from the root surface (also known as subgingival)
- Teeth scaling to help remove calculus and plaque (tartar) residue from the surface of your teeth (supragingival)
- Fluoride treatment or applying fluoride varnish on your teeth to strengthen teeth and help re-mineralize your tooth enamel
So, depending on your needs, a periodontist can make sure you receive the right gingivitis treatments.
Replacement or Repair of Tooth Restoration
If you have a lost, worn-down, or broken crown, filling, or any other type of dental restoration, it is fixed to prevent any more infections and damage to your teeth and gums.
Sometimes dentists may notice that maintaining good oral hygiene is not enough for gum disease treatment due to the increased risk of infection and inflammation. Therefore, a dentist may prescribe other gingivitis treatments:
- Gingivitis treatment antibiotics that help you fight bacteria and infections when the progress of the issue is likely and seems to be recurring
- Gingivitis cleaning topical antifungal medicines that help you eliminate any fungal development
- Antibacterial/antiseptic mouthwashes for you to use at home as an adjunct to regular oral hygiene practices. Such antiseptic mouthwashes can also act as swelling receding gums treatment by eliminating any problem-causing bacteria.
In case of a severe form of gingivitis or any advanced periodontal disease, a professional dentist may recommend you a few surgical operations. The periodontist or dentist may try:
- Gingivectomy is a surgical excision that helps remove any affected and excessive gum tissues.
- Dental gum graft where the dentist will help any receding gums or affected bone tissues to regenerate via the bone grafting or gum grafting
Using lasers in dentistry has several purposes. For instance, in the case of treatment of bleeding gums (gum disease), laser therapy allows professionals to remove any affected gum tissues easily.
However, gum disease treatment is something that can be easily prevented. All you need to do is visit a professional dentist regularly or when you first notice changes in your gums. You must also visit a dentist if you see any risk factors like bad breath, swelling, redness, gum sensitivity, medications, or other conditions. It will allow professionals to conduct the necessary tests and examinations. This way, they can treat gingivitis quickly or successfully reverse the progress of gum disease.
Looking For a Trustworthy Dentist in North Carolina? Contact Periodontics & Dental Implants Of North Carolina Today!
At Periodontics & Dental Implants of North Carolina, we have a seasoned staff that can easily offer you gum disease treatment and offers gingivitis remedies that help you get better in no time. Our doctors can also offer you treatment of bleeding gums, helping you live a normal and healthy life. Call us at 919-493-9900 to book an appointment today for any gingivitis treatments you may need!