Gingivitis

Cosmetic Dentist Serving Lakewood, Denver, Golden & Nearby Colorado

Gingivitis is one of the most common forms of gum disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around half of adults over the age of 30 have gingivitis or some form of gum disease. The early stages of the disease can be treated by practicing proper dental hygiene and getting routine cleanings from the dental office. However, later stages may need specialized treatment to prevent infection.

If you have sensitive gums or need a cleaning to prevent or treat gingivitis, Dr. Scott Greenhalgh can help. He can create a treatment plan for you while providing other general dentistry services. If you need help improving your gum health, call us today at 303-988-9060. We serve patients from Lakewood, Denver, Golden, and the rest of Colorado.

What is Gingivitis?

A father and son brush their teeth at homeGingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that causes swelling, bleeding, and irritation of the gingiva due to inflammation caused by plaque buildup. If the plaque on your teeth isn’t cleaned, the bacteria in the plaque start to inflame the gums. It is this inflammation and early infection that leads to the symptoms of gum disease.

What causes Gingivitis?

Gingivitis occurs when there is a buildup of bacteria and filmy plaque on the teeth. There are several factors that increase your risk of gingivitis, including:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Heredity
  • Stress
  • Immunodeficiencies
  • A dry mouth
  • Hormonal changes (pregnancy, birth control, etc.)

For most people, however, poor dental hygiene is one of the largest factors contributing to gum disease.

What are the Symptoms of Gingivitis?

Some of the most common symptoms of gingivitis are:

  • Swollen, receding, or bleeding gums
  • Plaque buildup
  • Bad breath
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Toothaches

While the symptoms are minimal at the beginning, gingivitis should be treated as soon as possible.

How is Gingivitis treated?

Gingivitis is usually reversible with a combination of good oral hygiene and professional cleaning. We will monitor your gum health and provide treatment recommendations to restore dental wellness. If you are instead in the advanced stages of periodontitis, Dr. Greenhalgh can help stop the progression with root planing and deep scaling treatments.

What Happens if Gingivitis is Left Untreated?

While gingivitis starts out relatively mild, it can progress into a more serious form of periodontitis if left untreated. Eventually, the plaque will harden into tartar, causing infection and tooth loss. Research also suggests that severe periodontal disease has a strong link with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and more.

How can I Prevent Gingivitis?

The most effective way to prevent gingivitis is to maintain good dental hygiene. Make sure you brush your teeth twice per day and floss regularly to reach the spots that your toothbrush misses. Another good way to prevent gum disease is to visit a dentist every six months for a cleaning. Dr. Greenhalgh can remove tartar buildup, spot gingivitis in its early stages, and help prevent tooth loss.

Are There Any At-Home Remedies For Gingivitis?

The at-home remedy for gingivitis is improved oral hygiene. Remember to:

  • Brush twice per day, for two minutes each time
  • Floss once every day
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush

These measures can reverse the progression of gingivitis in many cases.

If you think you have gingivitis, you should visit Dr. Greenhalgh. While it’s possible you need only to improve your at-home routine, it’s important to find out for sure. Dr. Greenhalgh will determine if gingivitis is present and how far it has progressed. He may recommend a deep dental cleaning and other treatment measures in addition to dental hygiene at home.

If you smoke, you should quit. Doing so will likely help to reverse gingivitis. Quit any other tobacco use as well. 

There are dietary and lifestyle habits that may reduce the amount of plaque buildup between your teeth. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Limit or dramatically reduce the amount of added sugar you consume (soda, sports drinks, candy, baked goods, etc.). Drink water throughout the day. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months. Consider using an electric toothbrush if you don’t already because it can clean more effectively in certain cases. 

Can Gingivitis Return After Treatment?

Yes, it is possible that gingivitis will continue to worsen after treatment. It depends on the severity of the condition and other factors. It’s important to continue to visit Dr. Greenhalgh so he can monitor your care. He will evaluate the inflammation and make sure you know what to do in order to manage the condition. Generally speaking, improved dental hygiene is an effective way to manage gingivitis long term.

When Should You Contact A Dentist For Gingivitis Treatment?

You should contact the practice of Dr. Greenhalgh if you notice:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Inflamed gums
  • Tender gums
  • Chronic bad breath

These are all symptoms of gingivitis that should be evaluated by an experienced dentist.

It’s also important to mention any new or continuing symptoms at your routine dental cleaning. These regular visits are an opportunity to check in about your oral health and make sure everything’s on track. 

How Long Will It Take To Eliminate Gingivitis?

It depends on the severity of the gum inflammation, as well as genetic predisposition and whether any underlying health conditions are contributing to gingivitis. When you visit Dr. Greenhalgh and recommit to at-home oral hygiene, you may see a difference within several weeks; it could also take longer or shorter. The important thing is to stay committed and stay engaged with your dental health. You will begin to see benefits when you do so. 

What Is Recovery And Aftercare Like For Gingivitis Treatments?

Aftercare and recovery depends on the treatment recommended by Dr. Greenhalgh. If you need to improve your at-home routine and receive a regular professional teeth cleaning, then there is no recovery. 

If Dr. Greenhalgh recommends scaling and root planing, you may experience redness, irritation, sensitivity, tenderness, and bleeding gums for a few days after this type of deep cleaning. Discomfort can be alleviated with an over-the-counter pain reliever. Soft, easy to chew foods are recommended, as well as gentle brushing for a few days.

Schedule a Gingivitis Check Up Today

If you want to learn more about preventing gum disease or need treatment for gingivitis, contact Dr. Greenhalgh today at 303-988-9060 to schedule a consultation. Dr. Greenhalgh will provide you with a variety of treatment options and preventative measures to keep your teeth healthy. We proudly serve patients from around Colorado, including Golden, Lakewood, and Denver.