Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums, usually caused by a bacterial infection. If left untreated, it can become a more serious infection known as periodontitis. The direct cause of gingivitis is plaque - the soft, sticky, colorless film of bacteria that forms constantly on the teeth and gums. The symptoms include:
• Bleeding gums (blood on toothbrush even with gentle brushing of the teeth)
• Bright red or red-purple appearance to gums
• Gums that are tender when touched, but otherwise painless
• Mouth sores
• Swollen gums
• Shiny appearance to gums
HOW IS GINGIVITIS DIAGNOSED?
During a dental exam, the dentist will probe your gums with a small ruler. This probing is a way to check for inflammation. It also measures any pockets around your teeth. Normal depth is 1 to 3 millimeters. Your dentist also may order X-rays to check for bone loss.
HOW IS GINGIVITIS TREATED?
Practising proper dental hygiene helps prevent Gingivitis. Common treatment methods are deep cleaning of scaling of teeth, antibiotic medications and surgery. Scaling, root planing and lasers are cleaning methods. Antibiotic mouthwashes, time-release antiseptic chips and oral antibiotics are also used for treating Gingivitis. Flap surgery and bone and tissue grafts are used for treating severe damage due to Gingivitis
DID YOU KNOW?
The possible complications involved are:
• Gingivitis returns
• Infection or abscess of the gums or the jaw bones
• Trench mouth