Gingivitis is a gum disease that involves swelling of the gums, bleeding, and often tooth loss. If this disease is left untreated for a long time it can progress into a much more severe condition called periodontitis. It is a very painful condition but with proper treatment, it can be reversed and the teeth can return to their normal healthy state. Let us understand gingivitis more clearly.
Causes of gingivitis
Poor oral health and an irregular lifestyle that doesn’t allow the patient to look after his or her teeth is the primary, basic cause. Smoking and tobacco chewing are also contributing factors. Sometimes, the variations of gum diseases run in families, so the patient may be also affected due to genetics.
Bacterial accumulation due to poor dental health is the major reason. When food particles are left in the mouth after eating and the teeth are not properly cleaned, microbial attack becomes easy. Bacteria quickly start accumulating and starts forming thick layers. These thick later are collectively called plaque. This plaque is greenish and very hard to remove since layers and layers of bacteria accumulate to form it. It is very sticky and hard in structure. If this plaque is not removed, it progresses into its advanced form known as tartar. This tartar is even hard to remove and doesn’t go away with regular cleaning and brushing. Professional dental cleaning is recommended to get rid of tartar. If this tartar accumulation is also left untreated then it takes no time for it to develop into gingivitis.
Bacterial accumulation is also a cause of irritation and inflammation in gums observed in gingivitis. It also causes bleeding and is very painful.
Many diseases like diabetes can also be a contributing factor to gingivitis as they interfere with the body’s immune system and reduce its capability to fight off diseases. Also, certain medications used to treat diseases can have side effects causing gingivitis.
Hormonal imbalance, lack of nutrition, and poor diet are also some possible reasons.
Symptoms of gingivitis
Gingivitis slowly progresses but it is very hard to detect. Look for symptoms of irritation and inflammation. An unusual discomfort in gums accompanied by tenderness could be the first sign of gingivitis.
Discoloration in gums should also be observed. When the guns are severely inflamed and irritated due to bacterial accumulation, they turn a shade of dark red or brown.
Bleeding gums are also observed in patients with gingivitis. The easiest way to determine is by observing your toothbrush after using it. If there is blood on the brush, the patient should immediately reach a dental clinic.
Loose teeth are also a major symptom and should not be ignored since tooth loss is the outcome of gingivitis.
How is gingivitis diagnosed?
On reaching the dentist, the patient will be asked to explain the medical history and dental history. Also, if the patient has undergone any dental treatments or undergoing any of them currently, they are supposed to inform it to the dentist. The dental health of the patient will be analysed according to this history.
Afterward, the teeth and gums will all be physically examined. The teeth, gums, and tongue are observed for any signs of bleeding, irritation, and bacterial accumulation. The dentist will perform the examination very gently so it will not cause the patient any pain.
X-rays are also a great way to observe the teeth structure and jaw bone structure. They provide the dentist with information about damaged teeth and bones.
The mouth is also observed for loosening teeth with the help of physical examination. Receding gums are also observed. Sometimes, the dentist may also measure the pocket depth of the gum. A pocket is a deep void formed between the teeth and gum space. If the pocket is too wide, then the patient may be affected with gingivitis.
What is the treatment for gingivitis?
Gingivitis can be reversed with proper treatment and the teeth can be restored to their normal, healthy state. Firstly, the teeth are cleaned with the help of special cleaning solutions. Sometimes a laser is also used for activation. This clears up any plaque or bacterial accumulation. Since plaque and tartar are very hard to remove, the dentist may take longer than usual to clean up the teeth.
Afterward, root planing and scaling may also be performed. Scaling may also be performed to remove the plaque accumulation and tartar accumulation. It is very helpful in cleaning the teeth. Root planing is also performed with scaling to smoothen the surface of teeth. It also helps the bacteria from sticking.
Dental restoration is also performed. The crowns, veneers, etc. previously installed dental equipment and procedures are removed because rough surfaces can be hard to clean and maintain. Whereas, after removal of these dental equipment, will make the surface of the teeth and roots smooth and will make the teeth easier to clean and maintain.
Once the in-office procedure is completed, it is essential to maintain the results. For this purpose, the dentists may recommend a well-thought-out dental plan that maintains oral hygiene and health. The patient must follow this plan as gingivitis can return quickly because bacterial accumulation is very easy. Follow-up treatments are also beneficial for the patient.
The patient may also be prescribed antimicrobial mouthwashes and cleaning solutions. Regular usage of such products will help keep the teeth clean and help maintain good oral health.
Steps for prevention
Brushing and flossing twice a day is a great way for preventing gingivitis as well as any other gum disease. Using fluoridated toothpaste and a gentle toothbrush is recommended. Using a good antimicrobial mouthwash is also a great way of preventing gum diseases.
Regular dental visits are also suggested. The patient must visit the dentist once or twice every year for regular checkups and treatments. Such appointments can also be very useful in detecting certain dental diseases very early and can stop them from progressing into untreatable stages.
If the patient is suffering from diseases like diabetes, it is very essential to maintain blood sugar levels as it can affect dental health along with overall health.