Inflammation of gums: gingivitis or periodontitis

What happens when gums become inflamed?

Inflammation of the gums causes an enlargement of the soft tissue surrounding the tooth, which causes discoloration changes, spontaneous bleeding and bleeding on brushing.

What are the causes of bleeding gums?

The causes that originate this inflammation may be due to transitory situations such as irritation by some food, some specific treatment or be associated with the different phases of periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is a multifactorial disease that affects the gums and the rest of the structures that surround and support the teeth. It has two main forms of presentation:

  • Gingivitis, if the problem only affects the gum.
  • Periodontitis, in which, in addition to the gum, the supporting tissues surrounding the tooth are affected.

What causes gum inflammation?

Gingivitis is mainly caused by poor hygiene, although it can be triggered or exacerbated by causes such as pregnancy, stress, drugs, smoking, etc.

It is a reversible process as long as it is treated and is characterized by red and swollen gums, spontaneous bleeding and bad breath.

If at this stage, the disease is not treated, it can evolve to periodontitis, in which, in addition to the gum, the supporting tissues surrounding the tooth are affected, resulting in the destruction of the alveolar bone and the creation of periodontal pockets between the gum and the tooth that favor the accumulation of bacterial plaque at this level, being one of the most important causes of tooth loss.

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Unlike gingivitis, periodontitis is not reversible, what is lost of bone and supporting tissues can no longer be recovered, but it can be controlled so that the disease does not progress.

It is important to keep in mind that although bacterial plaque is the primary etiological factor in the appearance of periodontal disease in any of its forms of presentation, its course and severity will depend on a variable number of environmental, behavioral and genetic determinants.

What to do when gums are inflamed?

Depending on the degree of periodontal disease, the treatment will be directed to the realization of a deep supra and/or subgingival cleaning (above and below the gum) by scaling and root planing or in more severe cases, it may be necessary to perform periodontal surgery techniques in order to remove tartar deposits and modify the gum, to obtain a better adhesion to the tooth.

On the other hand, the patient’s commitment plays a fundamental role in maintaining periodontal health. The objective should be to identify which variables can aggravate the problem in order to try to eliminate or minimize them and thus keep the disease under control as much as possible.

After a treatment phase, it is important to follow the periodontist’s instructions regarding hygiene instructions (use of interproximal brushes, dental floss, etc.), awareness, habits, check-up and maintenance sessions.

For more information contact a specialist in dentistry.