You’ve probably heard about “gingivitis” but do you actually know what it is, what causes it or what it does to your teeth? Or for that matter, do you know how we treat the problem, or what it takes to prevent it? If you’re ready to learn more about this serious dental condition, please read on as we leave no stone unturned!
As the early stage of gum disease, gingivitis is caused by a buildup of dental plaque on the soft tissues surrounding your teeth. This happens if you practice poor oral hygiene where you neglect to brush and floss daily between teeth and around the gum line. As a bacterial infection, gingivitis is a common oral condition that inflames the “gingiva” (the gums around the base of teeth).
Along with poor oral hygiene habits, these can cause gingivitis:
- Smoking/chewing tobacco
- Dry mouth
- Poor nutrition/vitamin deficiencies
- Crooked teeth (harder to clean)
- Ill-fitting dental restorations
- High blood pressure
- Hormonal changes (pregnancy, menstrual cycle or birth control pills)
While gingivitis can affect pretty much anyone, the good news is that there are gingivitis signs and symptoms that you can watch out for to catch any issues while they are still in the early, easiest-to-treat stage.
Signs and Symptoms to Look For
Keep an eye out for these indicators of gum disease:
- Bright or dark red gums
- Tender, painful gums
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Receding gums
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
- Chronic bad breath
Did you know that you can have gingivitis without showing symptoms? That’s what makes it tricky, and why you need those twice-a-year dental cleanings so we can spot developing problems early on with the help of digital X-rays and intraoral cameras and treated with laser dentistry.
Once you have gum disease, there won’t be much you can do from home. Preventing plaque formation on your pearly whites should be your daily goal. This sticky, bacterial film comes from the starches and sugars that feed the bacteria in your mouth. Brushing and Flossing with good flossing tools every day keeps it from building up and hardening into tartar (calculus) which could get under your gum line and irritate the tissue. Once it hardens you won’t be able to remove it and will require professional dental cleaning. If gingivitis progresses unchecked, you can end up with cavities and tooth loss as the supportive bone is lost to infection. This bacteria can also enter your bloodstream causing more damage like high blood pressure, heart disease, and lung problems.
Treatment for periodontics depends on the severity. Here is a brief view of what you might expect to restore gum health after periodontitis:
If periodontitis hasn’t become too advanced, treatment may involve less invasive procedures:
-Scaling: This gets rid of tartar and bacteria from your teeth and under the gums.
-Root planing: This smooths root surfaces to keep tartar buildup away and allow the gums to heal.
-Antibiotics: Topical or oral antibiotics like Perio Protect can be used to control the bacterial infection in the gums.
Possible treatments may include:
-Flap surgery (pocket reduction surgery): This allows better access to the tooth roots for scaling and root planing and may recontour the underlying bone.
-Soft tissue graft: Reinforce a receding gum line by taking a tiny bit of tissue from the roof of your mouth (palate) or using tissue from another donor source and attaching it to the affected site.
-Bone grafting: This helps prevent tooth loss by keeping your tooth anchored in place and supports the regrowth of natural bone.
-Guided tissue regeneration: Supports regrowth of bone that was destroyed.
Don’t Delay, Call Today!
To make sure you don’t end up experiencing advancing periodontal disease, our exceptional dentist and dental team urge you to schedule an appointment with us right away. Also, never skip your routine dental cleanings and exams. They allow us to spot problems early enough to reverse them and prevent any progression! Please reach out to our Exceptional Dentistry team at 661.349.7725 for more information or to schedule your next dental appointment. Your smile deserves the best possible care available!