Gingivitis

Alternative Names

Gum disease; Periodontal disease

Definition of Gingivitis

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums (gingiva).

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Gingivitis is a form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease involves inflammation and infection that destroys the tissues that support the teeth, including the gums, the periodontal ligaments, and the tooth sockets (alveolar bone).

Signs and tests

The dentist will examine your mouth and teeth and look for soft, swollen, red-purple gums. Deposits of plaque and tartar may be seen at the base of the teeth. The gums are usually painless or mildly tender.

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.

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.

Review

Jack D. Rosenberg, DDS, Advanced Dental Care, Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, M.D., MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 2/22/2010

Tooth anatomy
Gingivitis
Gingivitis

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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