Gingivitis

  • Alternative Names

    Gum disease; Periodontal disease


    Treatment

    The goal is to reduce inflammation. The teeth are cleaned thoroughly by the dentist or dental hygienist. This may involve various instruments or devices to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth.

    Careful oral hygiene is necessary after professional tooth cleaning. The dentist or hygienist will show you how to brush and floss. Professional tooth cleaning in addition to brushing and flossing may be recommended twice per year or more frequently for severe cases. Antibacterial mouth rinses or other aids may be recommended in addition to frequent, careful, tooth brushing and flossing.

    Repair of misaligned teeth or replacement of dental and orthodontic appliances may be recommended. Any other related illnesses or conditions should be treated.


    Support Groups


    Expectations (prognosis)

    The removal of plaque from inflamed gums may be uncomfortable. Bleeding and tenderness of the gums should lessen within 1 or 2 weeks after professional cleaning and careful oral hygiene. Warm salt water or antibacterial rinses can reduce the puffiness. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications will ease any discomfort from a rigorous cleaning.

    Healthy gums are pink and firm in appearance. Strict oral hygiene must be maintained for your whole life or gingivitis will recur.


    Complications
    • Recurrence of gingivitis
    • Periodontitis
    • Infection or abscess of the gingiva or the jaw bones
    • Trench mouth

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your dentist if symptoms of gingivitis are present, especially if you have not had a routine cleaning and examination in the last 6 months.

    Call your health care provider if the dentist recommends medical treatment of underlying conditions that contribute to the development of gingivitis.