Gingivitis is a very common gum condition, and it's estimated that around 50% of American adults (over the age of 30) experience this type of bacterial inflammation of the gums to some degree. It might be common, but it shouldn't be considered normal. Even though you don't need emergency treatment for gingivitis, you really must see your dentist in the near future. In any event, you won't have gingivitis for long.
You won't have gingivitis for long because one of two outcomes will occur:
- Your dentist will correct the condition by removing the buildup of bacteria from your teeth with your body's immune response then doing the rest of the work. The inflammation of your gums should reverse itself once the relevant irritant has been removed.
- Your untreated gingivitis will progress and will be reclassified as a more intensive condition known as pyorrhea (commonly referred to as periodontal disease). Consequently, more intensive treatment is needed, and it will be needed without delay.
Although only dentists can formally diagnose pyorrhea, the patient will receive certain warning signs, which are essentially a worsening of their existing gingivitis symptoms.
The Symptoms of Pyorrhea
When affected by gingivitis, you'll find that your gums bleed after brushing and flossing. This bleeding will worsen as the condition progresses to pyorrhea. Pus may also be secreted from your gums. Chewing your food will become uncomfortable as the bacterial destruction of your gum tissues begins to expose the roots of your teeth. You may experience unpleasant breath, and your gums will become increasingly tender. As the bacterial infection works its way into your jawbone, the various ligaments securing your teeth in their sockets will weaken. Ultimately, your teeth will loosen. Unless you seek treatment, tooth loss can be a distinct possibility.
Treatment for Pyorrhea
Similar to treating gingivitis, your dentist will begin by scaling your teeth. They may use an ultrasonic device to break up deposits of hardened plaque, which is a destructive bacterial biofilm that forms on teeth. Any exposed tooth roots will need root planing to remove plaque and tartar. You may also require antibiotics to repel the oral bacteria that have established themselves in your periodontal tissues. And finally, some patients may need flap surgery, which involves grafting new gum tissues onto existing gums. This can be necessary to protect exposed tooth roots and to help loose teeth reestablish themselves.
You mustn't underestimate the seriousness of gingivitis, since it can progress to a far more serious dental condition that can lead to tooth loss. Reach out to a local dentist to learn more.