What is Gingivitis? Know everything about it!
Dental Health • August 6, 2018
Diseases of gums occur when there is inflammation of the gum line that can affect the bone surrounding and supporting the teeth. Depending on the severity, gum diseases can be classified under three stages – Gingivitis, Periodontitis, and Advanced Periodontitis ranging from least severe to most severe.
If you are just at the beginning of gums inflammation, then most probably you are suffering from Gingivitis. To confirm that whether you are experiencing gingivitis or not you need to have complete information about the subject.
This post will tell you everything about gingivitis!
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a gum inflammation, usually caused by bacterial infection. If left uncured, this can turn into a serious infection called as periodontitis.
Gingivitis, as well as periodontitis, is vital causes of tooth loss in adults. If the condition is met with dental infections, then it can be chronic and affect not just your oral health but your entire health condition. (know more)
Causes of Gingivitis
The gums are connected to the teeth at a lower point than the edges of gums we see. This creates a small space known as sulcus. Plaque and food can get trapped in this area and result in infection of gums, known as gingivitis.
Plaque is a thin layer of bacteria. It regularly deposits on the surface of teeth. When plaque advances, it becomes thick and develops into tartar. This can result in infection when plaque develops below the gum line.
If left unchecked, gingivitis can result in separation of gums from the teeth. This can result in an injury to the bone and soft tissue supporting the teeth. This can make the tooth unstable and loose. If the infection increases, you may eventually lose the teeth or need a dentist to get it removed.
Symptoms of Gingivitis
Most of the times, individuals are not aware they have gingivitis. It is because gum disease can occur without any symptom. However, in some cases, gingivitis can reveal some symptoms, such as:
- Bleeding gums when you floss or brush the teeth
- Tender, swollen, or red gums
- Gums that are pulled away from teeth
- Loose teeth
- A change in the way how your teeth fit together when you bite the food
- Pus between gums and teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Pain while chewing food
- Partial dentures that do not fit properly
- Foul-smelling breath that does not go away even after brushing the teeth
Risk Factors Associated with Gingivitis
- Chewing or smoking tobacco
- Crooked teeth
- Consuming specific medications, like oral contraceptives, anticonvulsants, steroids, chemotherapy, and channel blockers
- Broken Fillings
- Dental appliances that do not fit properly
- Genetic Factors
- Weaken Immunity, like AIDS or HIV
Gingivitis is diagnosed with the help of a dental exam. During the examination, your gums are probed with a small ruler. The probing way is done to check inflammation. It also measures any severe pockets around the teeth.
Additionally, your dentist would also ask you to do an X-ray to check bone loss.
You can always discuss with your dentist about the symptoms or risk factors for gum disease. This can aid diagnose gingivitis. If the condition is present, you would be referred to a periodontist. Such a dentist is a specialized professional who is an expert in treating gum diseases.
How is it Possible to Treat Gingivitis?
In order to treat gingivitis completely, you need to practice proper oral hygiene. Also, you must cut back on diabetes and smoking habits. Other treatments to cure gingivitis are:
- Antibiotic microspheres – This is made with minocycline and can be inserted into the pockets after smoothening and scaling of the gums.
- Antiseptic mouthwash – It contains chlorhexidine and is used to disinfect the mouth.
- Oral antibiotics – It can be used to cure persistent gum inflammation.
- Antiseptic chips – It contains chlorhexidine that is inserted into pockets after root planning.
- Flap Surgery – This is a process where the gums are lifted back while tartar and plaque are removed from deeper pockets. Then the gums are sutured in place to fit properly around the tooth.
- Doxycycline – This is an antibiotic that can help keep enzymes from causing the tooth damage.
- Tissue and Bone Grafts – It is used when the jaw and teeth are severely damaged and cannot be healed.
Deep cleansing of teeth
- There are multiple techniques that are used for cleaning teeth deeply without undergoing any surgery. Such surgical measures remove tartar and plaque.
- Scaling is practiced to remove tartar from below and above the gum line.
- Root planning evens out rough spots and removes tartar and plaque from the surface of the root.
- Lasers can also be used to remove tartar with less bleeding and pain than root planning and scaling.
If medication and deep cleansing are not able to cure gingivitis, then the ultimate option is surgery. During the surgical process, the damaged tooth is removed.
Is it possible to cure gingivitis?
It is possible to prevent gingivitis by consistent and proper oral hygiene. An individual must eat a balanced diet and get a dental checkup done regularly. Brush the teeth twice daily with fluoride-based toothpaste and floss teeth at least once daily.
Gingivitis is associated with severe health ailments, like diabetes, heart stroke, lung disease, and more. Though gingivitis is not proof of being the cause of such problems it has been associated with these health concerns. Hence, if you are experiencing gingivitis or in doubt of suffering it, then the best course of action is to schedule an appointment with your dentist so that your level of gingivitis can be accurately diagnosed. From there, you can decide how to proceed to attain the healthy smile that is needed for a healthier body and mind.