Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums usually caused by plaque. It is the earliest and most easily treated form of gum disease, as it only affects the gums. Symptoms include gum inflammation and infection. It is a serious problem, which afflicts perhaps up to 90% of adults, but it is treatable and reversible. It must be treated to avoid more serious gum disease, such as periodontitis, a severe gum disease that can cause permanent tooth and jaw damage. If you have symptoms of gingivitis, make an appointment with Smile 32 Dental Centers for a thorough examination and proper treatment.
Gingivitis symptoms are the following:
- Red, or reddish-purple swollen, tender gums
- Gums that bleed very easily, even with gentle brushing (blood on toothbrush even with gentle brushing of the teeth)
- Gums that hurt only when touched
- Gums that have a “shiny look”
- Gums that have receded from your teeth
- Continuous bad taste in mouth or bad breath
- Mouth sores
Causes of Gingivitis
Although rough edges of teeth, dental work and trauma to the gums can cause gingivitis, it is most likely plaque that is the number one cause. Plaque that is not removed from the teeth hardens into tartar or calculus at and below the gum line and cannot be removed by brushing. Tartar causes decay even faster than plaque alone and irritates the gums. The resulting inflammation and infection of the gums is called gingivitis. Untreated, this condition can develop into a serious gum disease, called periodontitis.
You can reduce the risk of gingivitis by brushing and flossing regularly, quitting tobacco use, and making regular dental visits for examination and cleaning. Your dentist at Smile 32 Dental Centers will give your mouth a thorough examination to see if any of your teeth or dental work has rough edges that are contributing to this problem. Either your dentist at Smile 32 Dental Centers or a dental hygienist will give your teeth a thorough cleaning above and below the gums. This will usually include a process called scaling, where the dental professional uses instruments to scrape the tartar off teeth below the gum line. Scaling is followed by a smoothing procedure called planing to make sure there are no rough surfaces to continue irritating the teeth. Your dentist at Smile 32 Dental Centers can further describe the procedure and the techniques for making patients completely comfortable during the appointment.
Examination and Treatment
Gingivitis is the milder and very treatable form of gum disease that affects just the gums. Untreated gingivitis can develop into serious gum disease, called periodontitis, which can cause tooth loss and permanent damage to your jaw. This is preventable. If you develop the signs of gingivitis, see Smile 32 Dental Centers for a thorough examination and treatment.