Gingivitis is the inflammation and swelling of the gums, which can be seen as the initial stages of periodontitis. Periodontitis involves not only inflammation of the gums but also bone loss. This means that the bone supporting the teeth is eroding, similar to melting away. Thus, gingivitis can be viewed as the initial doorway to periodontitis, or gum disease.
The first symptoms of gingivitis include bleeding gums, redness of the gums, a reddish belt around the gum line, and bad breath. Additionally, plaque becomes visible. It can be detected by touching with your finger, allowing you to scrape it off the gums.
Any condition can become dangerous if left untreated. Gingivitis is no different. Over time, it can develop into bone loss and periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease. Gum disease is associated with numerous other health issues, making it a condition that should not be overlooked.
Yes, it is possible to have both gingivitis and periodontitis. With periodontitis, you can experience bone loss in certain areas of your gums, while in other areas you may experience gingivitis, which is inflammation and swelling of the gums without the bone loss. However, bone loss typically follows inflammation.
Dentists treat gingivitis by performing a deep cleaning of the mouth, also known as a Breidman. During this procedure, the patient is numbed, and the dentist cleans both under and above the gums. They also administer an antibacterial rinse and an under-the-gums antibiotic, which helps the gums heal faster and fights infection-causing bacteria in the gums.
The time it takes to cure gingivitis depends on the individual's oral health. You may spend about an hour in the dental office, but the rest of the day depends on your personal oral hygiene habits. If you take the condition seriously and follow your dentist's advice, gingivitis can be resolved within a few months. However, it's important to remember that it doesn't disappear overnight; it takes time.
You should schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible. Regular dental appointments are crucial for your dentist to detect any changes, inflammation, or areas of concern. If you need to schedule your appointment with us, please call (510) 969-8510.