DentalCare Logo

Professional Dental Terminology for the Dental Assistant and Hygienist

Course Number: 542

Causes, Treatment and Prevention Case 3

Studies both in vitro (laboratory) and in vivo (in humans) have shown that gingivitis is an inflammatory process. It can be caused by a number of conditions such as poor oral hygiene; gingival abrasion; stress; general illness; uncontrolled diabetes; smoking; or hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy or puberty.

For patients with gingivitis, the ideal treatment is meticulous oral hygiene. This includes twice daily brushing, sulcular cleaning (either with a brush, pick or other device such as a pulsing tool), mouth rinses and flossing.

ce542 - Content - Causes, Treatment and Prevention - Figure 1

There are several agents that can also be employed as topical anti-gingivitis treatments. These include, but are not limited to, toothpastes with stannous fluoride, therapeutic mouth rinses (such as antimicrobials, plaque biofilm reducing agents, and anti-periodontitis agents) and vigorous rinsing with water, such as with a pulsing tool. This reduces the number of active bacteria in the mouth and dilutes the quality of the biofilm.

Dr. Jay to Ms. Greene: “Patricia, after looking at your health data, and the examination findings, you have gingivitis. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums caused by buildup of bacterial colonies in your mouth. Usually they cause redness, swelling, bleeding and pain. All of these symptoms are your body’s reaction to inflammation or infection. In addition, the changes in your hormones or stress can cause this to worsen. I know that Jessica gave you some specific oral hygiene instructions to follow. Let me emphasize how important these are in resolving this condition. We will see you in six months to follow up with this.”