What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is mild inflammation of the gums due to plaque buildup. It is the reversible form of gum disease, but left untreated, may lead to more serious destructive forms. Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red and swollen and may also bleed easily. It is typically caused by poor oral hygiene and causes little or no discomfort. Gingivitis is reversible by good oral hygiene at home in addition to regular professional cleanings by your dentist or dental hygienist.

Prevention

Prevention begins with good brushing habits at home. In addition, flossing and the use of a good mouth rinse is also important. Regular exams and cleanings, usually every 6 months, should also be a part of this routine. Seeing your dentist and dental hygienist regularly will help prevent Gingivitis from progressing to more serious forms.   

Dental Exams & Cleanings

It is important to see your dentist twice a year for regular exams and cleanings. Your dentist and dental hygienist can help you to make sure you are doing everything you can to prevent Gingivitis and Periodontitis. Dental exams include diagnostic x-rays (radiographs), oral cancer screening, gum disease evaluation, tooth decay exams, and exams of the existing restorations. Dental cleanings are performed by your dental hygienist. It includes the removal of plaque, calculus (tartar), and teeth polishing.

Digital Xrays

Digital x-rays produce low levels of radiation and are considered safe. We take all precautionary methods to reduce the amount of radiation exposure through the use of lead apron shields with thyroid collars. Digital x-rays have less exposure levels than traditional x-rays. The need for x-rays depends on each patient’s individual needs. Your dentist or dental hygienist will advise you on the need based on your medical and dental history, age, signs, symptoms, and exam. Full Mouth x-rays(FMX) are recommended for new patients. A FMX is usually good for 3-5 years. Bite-wing xrays are taken once or twice per year depending on need and are usually taken at recall appointments

Oral Cancer Exams

Oral Cancer Screenings are performed at every dental visit. Clinical exams are done by checking lymph nodes of the neck and face, and by visually examining areas of the mouth, tongue, and throat. We look for any abnormalities of the tissues including swelling and discolorations from the norm. In addition, our office offers Vizilite Cancer Screenings to all of our patients over the age of 18. It is recommended that this screening be done once a year in addition to the clinical screening. Oral cancer can affect anyone however, smoking cigarettes or cigars, tobacco chewing, excessive alcohol consumption, chronic irritation to the tissues, poor dental and oral hygiene, or HPV may increase your risk for Oral Cancer.

Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral present in varying amounts in food and water supplies. It helps strengthen teeth by penetrating tooth enamel and making it less susceptible to decay. Fluoride alone will not prevent decay. It also requires good oral hygiene and regular exams and cleanings by your dentist. Fluoride works in two ways: systemic and topical. Systemic fluoride is obtained naturally by the food and water we ingest to help strengthen teeth. Topical fluoride is found in toothpaste and mouth rinses to add to the benefits of systemic fluoride. Sometimes, systemic fluoride is not enough to help prevent decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend a fluoride mouth rinse to be used at home as well as an in office treatment. Some patients require additional treatments especially if they are more susceptible to decay, have deep pits and fissures on their teeth, frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake, dry mouth, or exposed root structure and sensitivity.

Sealants

Sealants are thin plastic coatings, similar to composite fillings, which are applied to the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Sealants are placed to help prevent cavities on molars and premolars where deep grooves, fissures, and/or pits are present. This is a painless procedure usually done on children and teenagers, as well as some adults, as long as the tooth has not had any other fillings done on them. This protective coating seals the areas of the teeth allowing for a smooth surface which is easier to clean and does not allow for bacteria to cause decay on this part of the tooth. Sealants, however, cannot prevent decay from starting in between the teeth, therefore good oral hygiene habits at home are important in preventing cavities from occurring on other parts of the teeth.

 

Other things to know

Clenching or Grinding your teeth puts excess forces on the supporting tissues of the mouth and increases the chance of teeth breaking or being lost.

Occlusal adjustments are performed by your dentist to relieve excessive pressures applied to the teeth when biting. In a painless technique, the doctor is able to remove a small amount of tooth structure may be removed from your teeth in order to balance your bite.

Pre-Medication may be required for patients who have a history of Joint Replacement, Heart Murmur, Mitral Valve Prolapse, or other medical issue that your MD recommends. Antibiotics are required to be taken one hour before any dental appointment that may cause bleeding. The type of antibiotic recommended depends on the patients history of allergies. According to the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, it is recommended that clinicians consider pre medicating for all patients with Joint replacement prior to any invasive procedures that could cause Bacteremia. We will make every effort to work with your Physician to determine if antibiotic therapy is recommended prior to your dental procedures.