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With the term “gingivitis” we describe the inflammatory process that afflicts the gingival tissues.
The gingiva, along with the alveolar process, the radicular cementum, and the periodontal ligament, make up the periodontium (from the Greek peri-, around, and –odont, tooth), i.e. the totality of the structures and tissues surrounding and sustaining the teeth.
In healthy conditions, the gingiva are pink, with an orange-peel texture. On the contrary, in the presence of gingivitis, they are swollen, red, and tend to bleed.
Gingivitis is generally considered to be caused by bacteria. Its main cause lying, in fact, in the inflammation caused by an accumulation of bacterial plaque along the margins of the gingiva surrounding the tooth’s neck. There are some risk factors that can contribute to the onset of gingivitis or worsen it if already present. Among these:
Among the illnesses that can favor the onset of gingivitis:
Several prescription drugs such as anticonvulsants, immune-suppressors, or antihypertensives can cause gingival modifications, i.e. their thickening, which goes by the name of hyperplasia.
Gingivitis is a completely reversible illness if the causes of the bacterial proliferation at the root of the inflammation are removed.
This means adopting a correct oral hygiene at least three times a day, using dental floss for an effective removal of interdental plaque, and regular check-ups at the dentist’s and sessions of professional oral hygiene.
Another important factor in the prevention of gingivitis is the removal of risk factors such as smoking, and a correct diet rich in vitamin C and calcium.
There is a form of gingivitis, called necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, that determines a series of important symptoms that include:
Even when the healing is complete, necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis has permanent effects, such as the decapitation of the interdental papillae. In this case an appropriate therapy should be immediately adopted to limit the damage.
If neglected, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis: the latter is an inflammation of the deep periodontal tissues – alveolar process, radicular cementum, and periodontal ligament – that leads to their destruction, causing irreparable damage.
Contact the specialists of IMI Clinic immediately for a free consultation on periodontitis and related diseases.
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