You’ve been diagnosed with gingivitis
The main question on your mind is this: “Can gum disease go away?”
When gingivitis is diagnosed and treated early on, and if the patient closely follows a dentist’s instructions, it can still be reversed. However, when gum disease is left unchecked, it can worsen and progress into periodontal disease.
Usually, gum disease does not require professional intervention. Instead, a patient is asked to practice good oral hygiene habits. In fact, poor oral hygiene is one of the leading causes of gingivitis.
However, there are some dentists who argue that gum disease is not really reversible. Instead, these dentists say that like periodontal disease, gingivitis can only be controlled.
In order to better understand that argument, here are a few important facts that you should know.
First, periodontitis is a non-curable bacterial infection
Periodontitis damages gum tissues as a result of the body’s immune system fighting off bacteria. Now, if a patient with periodontal disease responds well to the treatment for the disease, he is said to be cured, but not healed.
When the periodontal disease has been stabilized, bone loss stops. However, the damage on the bones can no longer be repaired. Patients who are healed of their periodontitis will notice a marked improvement in the swelling, bleeding, redness, and pocket depth of their gums. Now, if the patient fails to follow through with the treatment, periodontal disease can return.
How is that related to gingivitis?
Gum disease is caused by bacteria that elicits an immune response from the body. Patients with gingivitis experience bleeding, swelling and redness of the gums as a result of the immune system responding to the attack of the bacteria. However, gingivitis does not involve the development of pockets in the gums or bone loss.
Gingivitis and periodontitis share a few similarities. For one, both are bacterial infections that cause damage to tissues. Second, both respond well to the reduction of biofilm control (good oral hygiene). Finally, both diseases can return if the patient fails to practice good oral hygiene and to go for follow-up visits with the dentist.
However, the two also have a few key differences. Although both diseases are caused by a bacterial infection, the bacteria involved in gingivitis are considered to be less harmful. Second, gingivitis can be managed by good oral hygiene and regular dental cleaning. Periodontitis, on the other hand, needs to be managed for a whole lifetime. Patients also need to visit their dentists every three months.
But if there is one key difference that patients should be aware of, that is the fact that periodontitis has been linked to chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart attacks, and stroke.
If you want to learn more about how you can take better care of your teeth and gums and stave off diseases like gingivitis, Dr. Aaron Nicholas, a dentist in Burtonsville, MD, and his team can provide you with invaluable tips. Contact us today.