Are your gums inflamed, swollen and appear darker than usual? Do they bleed especially when brushing and flossing or without any reason at all? When you look at your teeth in the mirror, do they appear longer due to a receding gum line? Or your teeth start to have noticeable gaps in between each other? Or worse, do you find it hard to talk to people face to face because you have a bad breath that won’t go away?
If you experience most or all of these symptoms, then it is high time that you book yourself a trip to the dentist’s office because you might have gingivitis. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease. It is a condition where the gingiva, the part of the gums at the base of the teeth structure becomes inflamed and swollen.
What causes gingivitis?
The major reason for developing gingivitis is poor dental hygiene. In short, not brushing well and taking care of your teeth properly. Poor dental hygiene can lead to bacterial build-up on the teeth surface and can form plaque (a white bacterial film) and calculus or tartar (hardened bacterial build-up resulting in accumulation of plaque).
Who can perform gingivitis treatments?
1. General Practitioners
A general dentist can usually take care of gums and address mild gum diseases. When the gum disease becomes severe or moderate, your dentist will refer you to a periodontist.
2. Gum specialist or periodontist
When you already observe the signs and symptoms of gum disease, you can also see a periodontist directly. A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the gums and bones surrounding the teeth. They are specially trained to administer treatments for gum disease, dental implants, and aesthetic gum surgeries.
Why the need for gingivitis treatment?
1. Gingivitis treatment improves over-all health and confidence.
Given the symptoms, having gingivitis can be bothersome, can affect our overall health and how people perceive us. Having bleeding swollen and bleeding gums can be scary and not mention, persistent bad breath doesn’t really make a good impression. This is why it is important to get gingivitis treatment as soon as you can at the onset of the signs and symptoms to prevent further complications.
2. Without gingivitis treatment, the condition may progress to periodontitis.
Periodontitis is a more serious gum condition that causes a significant reduction in gum tissues and bone loss, which and requires immediate attention from a gum specialist.
How would I know if I need gingivitis treatment?
When you exhibit the symptoms for gingivitis mentioned above, it is best that you see your dentist right away to determine the health of your gums and what gingivitis treatments are appropriate to address the condition.
What are the types of gingivitis treatments?
According to dentists, gingivitis doesn’t necessarily need surgery to be successfully treated. It is a mild form of gum disease and therefore, non-surgical dental procedures and treatments are enough for gingivitis treatment. These treatments may include:
1. Dental Cleaning
Simple in-office procedures like dental cleaning can remove plaques and calculus that have formed on the teeth surface. This is why it cannot be stressed enough that you should always make time for routine dental check-ups and dental cleanings to keep your gums and teeth healthy.
2. Scaling and Root Planing
These are in-office or chairside procedures that completely remove the pockets (deep calculus build-ups at the base of the teeth). Scaling and root planing are usually performed for patients with severe gingivitis.
After the mentioned in-office non-surgical procedures to remove calculus and plaque, prescription medication such as antibiotics to target the affected areas are usually required. This is important to help control bacterial build-up.
What are the risk factors of gingivitis?
Apart from plaque and tartar build-up, dentists warns patients of other risk factors can cause gingivitis. These may include:
1. Systemic diseases
Systemic diseases are diseases that affect other parts of the body. Some systemic diseases can even affect the entire body and its function. In this light, people with systemic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, cancer, thyroid diseases, HIV and allergies can exhibit swollen gums and other symptoms of gingivitis. Patients affected with systemic diseases are also at higher risk for developing gingivitis.
2. Hormonal changes
Throughout the course of a lifetime, the body undergoes different phases of changes and developments, and along with these changes, the hormones in our body also change an increase or decrease in production depending on what stage we are in. In women most especially, hormonal changes can during puberty, menstrual periods, pregnancy and even menopause can cause the gums to become more sensitive than usual and can trigger inflammation.
3. Lifestyle practices
Non-smokers have a lower risk of developing gingivitis than the people who smoke regularly. In addition, people who practice a healthy lifestyle and take good care of their overall oral and health are less prone to developing gingivitis in their lifetime.
4. Certain medications
Some medications that have side effects that result in a reduction of saliva and abnormal gum tissue growth (i.e. anticonvulsants, anti-angina drugs) can increase the risk of gum swelling and inflammation.
5. Age and Heredity
It cannot be denied that as we age, or bodies become more at risk for developing certain medical conditions and diseases like gingivitis. In addition, a person’s genes can also play a great role in the development of certain conditions. When one or both of your parents have had gingivitis, then there is also a greater risk of you developing the condition as well.