What is gingivitis?
Commonly known as gum disease, the medical term "Gingivitis" indicates inflammation of the gums (or gingiva, which is the medical terms for gums). It is the initial stage of gum disease and the easiest to treat. The direct cause of gingivitis is plaque – the soft, sticky, colorless film of bacteria that forms constantly on the teeth and gums.
Known as "plaque-induced gingivitis," it is usually a non-destructive type of periodontal disease. At this early stage in gum disease, damage can be reversed, since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place are not yet affected. If left untreated however, gingivitis can progress to "periodontitis" which is far more serious and can eventually lead to partial or total tooth loss, as well as damage to your jaw.
A patient with gingivitis will have red and puffy gums, and they will most likely bleed when they brush their teeth. Another sign of gum disease is "shrinking gums, where the gums have receded or pulled away from your teeth, giving your teeth an elongated appearance. Generally, gingivitis resolves with good oral hygiene – longer and more frequent brushing, as well as flossing. Some people find that using an antiseptic mouthwash, alongside proper tooth brushing and flossing, is also helpful.
Professional cleanings are also extremely important because once plaque has hardened and built up, or become tartar, only a dentist or dental hygienist can remove it.
What are the symptoms of gingivitis?
A symptom is something the patient feels and describes, such as painful gums, while a sign is something everybody, including the doctor or nurse can see, such as swelling.
Signs and symptoms of gingivitis may include:
- Gums are bright red or purple
- Gums are tender, and sometimes painful to the touch
- Gums bleed easily when brushing teeth or flossing
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Inflammation (swollen gums)
- Receding gums
- Soft gums
In mild cases of gingivitis there may be no discomfort or noticeable symptoms. patients may not even know they have it, because symptoms are mild. However, the condition should be taken seriously and addressed immediately.
The doctors and staff at The Colorado Center for Implant and Prosthetic Dentistry are available to help you determine effective solutions to all of your dental problems. If you would like more information from your Littleton area Prosthodontist, please call to make an appointment today.