FAQs About Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and it’s more common than you might think. Many Americans have gingivitis without realizing it, since its symptoms can be subtle. This is one reason why it’s so important to see your dentist at least every six months for a checkup. Your dentist can detect gum disease in its earliest stage, and effectively treat it to prevent it from getting worse.

How will I know if I have gingivitis?

Your dentist will check your gum health at each six-month checkup. But in between appointments, you should schedule an extra visit if you notice these issues:

  • Tender, swollen, or puffy gum tissue
  • Dark red gums
  • Bad breath
  • Receding gum line
  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing

How did I get gingivitis?

Most often, gingivitis occurs because plaque is allowed to stay on the teeth and cause the gum tissue to become inflamed. Poor oral hygiene is a major cause of gingivitis, but it can affect you even if you brush twice per day and floss once per day. You might be inadvertently missing some areas with your toothbrush, for instance. Your dental hygienist can help you improve your oral care routine. Other risk factors of gingivitis include:

  • Smoking
  • Chewing tobacco use
  • Dry mouth
  • Poor nutrition
  • Hormonal changes

How bad can gingivitis get if I don’t treat it?

In its earliest stage, gum disease is easy to reverse. But if it’s left untreated, gum disease can become quite severe and treatment becomes more difficult. Eventually, it’s possible to suffer from decreased density of the jawbone, loosening teeth, and even tooth loss.

How will my dentist treat gingivitis?

Your dentist can treat gingivitis with a procedure called scaling and root planing. This is an intensive cleaning that removes tartar and bacteria from under the gum line and on the surfaces of the tooth. The surfaces are smoothed to support healing and discourage bacteria from accumulating again. To keep gum disease from returning, you’ll need to improve your oral care routine and manage any other applicable risk factors.

Get your gums in great shape with help from John Carson, DDS—an experienced dentist serving the Tucson community. Call (520) 514-7203 to request our next available appointment.

 

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