Gingivitis

Periodontist in St. Louis, Missouri

Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease, characterized by inflammation and irritation of the gingiva, the part of the gum around the base of the teeth. It’s primarily caused by the buildup of plaque—a sticky, colorless film of bacteria—on your teeth. If not properly managed, gingivitis can lead to more severe gum disease, including periodontitis.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease and is completely reversible with professional treatment and good daily home care. Gingivitis causes the gums to become red, swollen and bleed easily. If gingivitis is left untreated, the infection can spread from the gums to the bone. This process begins to destroy the bone that supports the teeth.

Gingivitis

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Symptoms of Gingivitis

Recognizing the symptoms of gingivitis early can prevent progression to more serious conditions. Common signs include:

  • Red, Swollen Gums: Gums that are inflamed, red, and puffy.
  • Bleeding Gums: Especially when brushing or flossing.
  • Bad Breath: Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.
  • Tenderness: Discomfort or sensitivity in the gums.

Causes and Risk Factors

Gingivitis is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene that encourages plaque buildup on teeth, leading to inflammation of the surrounding gum tissues. Risk factors include:

  • Smoking or Chewing Tobacco: Tobacco use can significantly increase your risk.
  • Poor Nutrition: Deficiencies in essential nutrients, especially vitamin C.
  • Medical Conditions: Certain conditions and medications can affect gum health.
  • Poor Dental Care: Inconsistent brushing and flossing.

Diagnosing Gingivitis

Diagnosis is usually made through a dental examination. Your periodontist will evaluate the condition of your gums, check for inflammation, and measure the depth of gum pockets around your teeth. Regular dental checkups are crucial for early detection and effective treatment.

Treatment Options

Gingivitis is reversible with proper dental care and professional treatment. Treatment typically includes:

  • Professional Cleaning: Removing plaque and tartar through a thorough dental cleaning.
  • Improved Oral Hygiene: Daily brushing and flossing to prevent plaque buildup.
  • Antimicrobial Mouth Rinses: To help reduce bacteria in the mouth.

For persistent cases, additional treatments may be necessary, including:

  • Scaling and Root Planing: Deep cleaning procedures to remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line.
  • Medications: Antibiotic gels or oral antibiotics to control bacterial infection.

Preventing Gingivitis

Preventing gingivitis involves maintaining excellent oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits. Tips include:

  • Brush Regularly: Twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss Daily: To remove plaque from between teeth and under the gum line.
  • Regular Checkups: Routine visits to your dentist or periodontist for cleanings and exams.
  • Healthy Diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals.

At Schlueter Periodontics & Implants in St. Louis, we prioritize your gum health. Our team offers advanced treatments using the latest technology, including the FDA-approved LANAP® laser procedure, which is minimally invasive and requires no downtime. Dr. Scott Schlueter and Dr. Trinity Boszko, along with our expert staff, are dedicated to providing thorough evaluations and personalized care to help you maintain healthy gums and a beautiful smile.

Contact Us

If you suspect you have gingivitis or need advice on maintaining your gum health, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our team is here to answer your questions and provide the care you need. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step toward better oral health.

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