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Tread Gingerly with Gingivitis

You’ve probably heard of gum disease, or gingivitis (thanks, mouthwash ads), and you know it’s bad But you might not know exactly what it means—and what can happen if it’s ignored.

“The gum disease known as gingivitis.” This phrase has been a staple of mouthwash ads going back decades. But what does gingivitis actually mean? And do I really need to care?

Let’s answer the second question first: Yes, you do need to care. We all do. Gingivitis is a mild and reversible disease, but if it’s ignored, it can turn into a severe, irreversible one called periodontitis that can result in tooth loss and require surgical intervention.

What’s gingivitis?

Plaque doesn’t just build up on your teeth. It also builds up under your gums. This can make your gums sensitive and inflamed. That’s gingivitis: gum inflammation that can cause discomfort, bleeding, gum recession, bad breath, and other symptoms.

Technically, all of us have some gingivitis. And mostly, we’re able to manage it at home with diligent brushing, flossing, and rinsing. But some of us have gingivitis that’s more advanced. And that form of moderate to severe gingivitis requires dental treatments that go beyond a typical cleaning.

SRP ArticleGing Gingivitis

How is gingivitis treated?

If you have gingivitis that’s advanced enough, a typical dental cleaning won’t be helpful, because it doesn’t go far enough below the gum line. It can actually be harmful by allowing bacteria to remain trapped where brushing and flossing can’t reach.

That’s where “non-surgical gum treatment” comes in. This treatment cleans underneath your gums, in areas that can’t be accessed during a typical cleaning.

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What happens if I don’t treat gingivitis?

If left untreated, gingivitis can continue to advance until it becomes periodontitis. That’s a significantly more dangerous disease of the structures supporting your teeth—as opposed to just your gums. It can result in tooth loss and require surgery to treat.

Whereas gingivitis can be cured thanks to non-surgical gum treatment and diligent at-home care, periodontitis can’t be cured. It can only be controlled. That’s why it’s very important to treat gingivitis as soon as it’s diagnosed and to continue to keep it in check.

SRP ArticleGing Progression

How long does non-surgical gum treatment take, and what does it cost?

Because non-surgical gum treatment is more thorough than a typical cleaning, it requires more time to complete. As a result, we may need you to schedule another one to two visits. Similarly, because this treatment is more complex than a typical cleaning, it may not be fully covered by your insurance, and you may have a higher out-of-pocket cost.

We get that it’s not a great feeling to find out that you have to spend more time and money on a medical issue. (And, like any disease, gingivitis is a medical issue.) But ignoring gingivitis will end up creating more complex problems in the future that are far more time-consuming and expensive to deal with. We want to help you avoid that.

How can I be sure I need this?

If you’re new to Tend and your prior dentist never diagnosed you with gingivitis, we know this can be a lot to process. We want to assure you of two things.

First, Tend practices evidence-based dentistry that’s rooted in the latest clinical research. As a medical field, we now know more than we used to about gingivitis and how to treat it, and Tend always adheres to the American Dental Association’s standards.

Second, our dentists don’t make a commission on procedures. They only offer the care you need. You can decide to proceed with any treatment recommendations confident that your interests and your dentists are aligned.

Tread gingerly with gingivitis—reverse it right away

Take advantage of your dentist’s diagnosis to halt your disease before it advances—and restore your mouth to health.

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