The Importance of Diagnosing and Treating Gingivitis
According to the CDC, approximately 50% of adults 30 years or older have some form of periodontal disease, which is the medical term for gum disease. Since gum diseases such as gingivitis can exist essentially pain-free, many adults are not even aware they have it. It is important to prevent and treat gingivitis as your risk of getting it only continues to grow as you get older. Luckily for us, it is easier for a gum pain dentist, commonly known as a periodontist, to help you prevent gingivitis than it is for them to treat it.
Before we can diagnose gingivitis, we need to know what it is. Gingivitis is one of two forms of periodontal disease, which is an infection of the gums; the tissue that holds your teeth in place. Gingivitis is actually an early stage of gum disease; however, when left untreated, it will turn into periodontitis. In general, periodontal disease begins to form just below the gum line, creating small pockets of disease which slowly separate your teeth from the gums.
When it comes to diagnosing gingivitis, it is easier for a dentist to identify than it is for you since it often does not cause symptoms during the early phases of the disease. However, as the conditions get worse, the following symptoms may appear:
- Red, inflamed gums
- Constant bad breath
- Gums easily bleed, especially when brushing your teeth
- Temperature sensitivity
- Gum pain
- Pus in your gums or between your teeth
- Teeth begin to come loose
How is Gingivitis Treated?
These days treating gingivitis is fairly easy. As a Gingivitis treatment dentist office, we commonly perform the following gum disease treatments:
- Teeth Cleaning – For many of our patients, all it takes is one professional tooth cleaning. Giving our dental team the opportunity to clean your teeth is the best way to remove tartar and plaque from the gum lines. If there is a build up of bacteria within your gums, the gingivitis will be harder to treat and may require a follow up cleaning.
- Scaling and Root Planing – This is essentially a more in depth tooth cleaning. Scaling involves removing plaque, bacteria, and tartar from the tooth’s surface and below the gum line. Root Planing is then used to smooth your teeth thus making it harder for bacteria to stick to the enamel. Depending on the amount of build up on your teeth, this procedure may be completed over more than one visit.
- Gum Grafting – For those with more advanced stages of gingivitis, a surgical option known as tissue grafting may be used to treat it. A periodontist will replace the damaged or missing gum tissue using excess tissue from the roof of your mouth.
- Root Canal – A root canal can be used to treat many different oral problems and diseases. The procedure is designed to clean any bacteria out of the root system which prohibits infection from spreading through your bloodstream.
- Flap Surgery – For this procedure, your gum disease dentist will remove any extra tissue within your gum line. This helps to prevent bacteria from hiding under the flaps created by the extra tissue.
- Antibiotics and Antimicrobials – In most cases, your gum pain dentist may choose to prescribe some antibiotics to eliminate any remaining infection or to help relieve pain. Our dental office commonly gives prescriptions of Chlorhexidine (an antimicrobial rinse), Tetracycline, or doxycycline (topical antibiotics that you apply directly to the infected areas.
Caring For Your Gums At Home
The best and most effective way to prevent the return of gingivitis is to practice proper oral hygiene care at home. This will require some daily maintenance; however, the extra effort is well worth it. To prevent, and possibly reverse early stages of gum disease, you can take the following steps:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day (once in the morning and once before bed)
- Rinse with mouthwash. Double check that the mouthrinse you choose mentions that it is a mouthwash for gingivitis
- Floss right after brushing. Floss picks are a great gingivitis dental floss tool! You can also look into a water flosser which is the most effective option
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. If you are prone to gingivitis, we recommend an electric toothbrush because they are better at removing tartar and plaque
- Drink water after every meal to give your mouth a quick rinse
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet. This ensures your body is receiving the nutrients it needs to maintain your oral health
- Schedule your routine teeth cleaning with your dentist every 6 months, a minimum of once a year
- If you smoke cigarettes, quitting will allow your gums to heal and greatly reduce your risk of periodontal disease
When shopping for your oral hygiene products, choose products with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. The seal means the product meets all ADA health and safety standards. Our dental hygienists are always happy to provide you suggestions on which products may be best for you. All you have to do is ask.
Gingivitis Won’t Go Away On It’s Own
If there is one thing we know for sure, it’s that gingivitis will not go away on its own. As mentioned previously, if it is left untreated, it will only continue to get worse and can lead to loss of teeth and jawbone or nerve damage. At the end of the day, the best way to prevent gingivitis and the associated gum pain is to maintain your oral care routine and visit Friendly Dentistry regularly for your professional teeth cleaning. Visit us online to book your next dental appointment. We can’t wait to see you!