Gingivitis, the earliest stage of periodontal disease, is characterized by red, tender, swollen gums. If left untreated, this condition can worsen into periodontitis, which is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults.
Our team at Montreal Smiles in Montreal, QC offers treatment for gingivitis with periodontics, a field of dentistry focused on maintaining and improving the health of the gums. Here, we explain how addressing this condition proactively can save you time and money in the future.
Why Does Gingivitis Occur?
Every day, plaque and tartar build up on the teeth and around the gums. If these deposits are not removed regularly, bacteria begin to populate and feed on the plaque. This process leads to inflammation of the gingival tissue.
Essentially, gingivitis is the body’s natural response to irritants near the gum line. Some individuals are genetically more prone to developing gum disease.
Gingivitis can also be caused by hormone fluctuations. For this reason, the condition is commonly seen in women during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis
The signs of gingivitis include red, puffy, sore gums. These symptoms may also be accompanied by bad breath and bleeding when brushing or flossing.
It is a natural tendency to back off of hygiene when the gums are bleeding. However, brushing and flossing more regularly is actually the proper course of action. This will sweep away the plaque and bacteria and make the gums healthier.
Treatment for Gingivitis
It is best to treat gum disease in the earliest stage, as bone loss has not yet occurred. Gingivitis can actually be completely reversed with a regular dental cleaning by your hygienist.
During this procedure, harmful irritants and bacteria are removed from the teeth, and the biofilm on the tooth’s surfaces are polished away.
Your hygienist can also review proper brushing and flossing techniques with you to make sure your teeth and gums stay healthy between visits.
If you are prone to gingivitis or gum disease, we may recommend routine cleanings every three to four months. This will help keep harmful bacteria at bay.
What if I Have Periodontitis?
If gingivitis is left untreated, the condition will worsen into periodontitis. At this point, the infection that was once at the gum line has now moved beneath the gums around the teeth. The infection begins to erode the supporting jawbone, creating deep pockets around the tooth roots.
Unfortunately, this condition cannot be treated with a regular dental cleaning, much less a toothbrush and floss. To eliminate infection deep in the gum line, scaling and root planing must be performed. This process is similar to a regular cleaning. However, the gums are numbed for your comfort. After the clinician cleans the teeth, he or she also smooths the root surfaces to deter further plaque and bacteria from reattaching.
Advanced periodontitis often requires surgical intervention. Gum surgery involves making incisions and moving the gums back so that your surgeon can visualize the infected tissue. After thoroughly cleaning the teeth and roots, the gums are repositioned and sutured into place.
Preventing Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gingivitis and gum disease is to brush twice daily with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste and floss once every day. Healthy hygiene habits will keep oral bacteria at a manageable level. Additionally, it is important to visit your dentist routinely so he or she can monitor the health of your teeth and gums and detect any potential problems early on.
Contact Montreal Smiles
If you think you may have gingivitis or gum disease, schedule an appointment at our practice right away. We can determine the cause of the condition and recommend appropriate treatment. Contact us online anytime or give us a call at (514) 733-3933.