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                                                        DR. DAN PETERSON

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Plaque buildup at gumline

Gingivitis damages your gums and reduces their ability to protect vulnerable areas.   

  Gingivitis is one of the most common untreated infections  

     Moderate gingivitis is a serious infection  and inflammation of the gums caused by plaque buildup at the gumline at the base of the visible part of your teeth.  Plaque-induced gingivitis is defined as inflammation of the gingiva in the absence of clinical attachment loss. *

Plaque, infection and bacteria located is located at the gum line 

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     This plaque is caused by food debris and bacteria that grow in this area. This group of harmful bacteria begins to recolonize and dominate in only 24 hours after you brush.  Their levels of toxins continue to increase causing an infection that can damage your gums and affect your immune system.  

You may not know you have this infection because it is painless

If this plaque is not removed daily it will harden to form calculus (tartar) around the necks of your teeth.

     This calculus will often result in a mechanical irritation that damages your gums. Additionally, calculus provides an area on which more bacteria easily grow, plaque and calculus will, if not removed, continue to grow and form deep pockets at the base of your teeth that will sooner or later fill with pus, infect the bone and cause tooth loss.  

Left untreated gingivitis will progress to periodontitis or gum disease.


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     Blood on your toothbrush or dental floss is one of the earliest and most common signs of gingivitis. Other signs of moderate gingivitis are:


irritated gum tissue                             


swollen, red gums


sore gums                                  


gum tissue that bleeds  (due to bacterial infection) easily upon probing which is a good indicator that you have ACTIVE disease


10 or more bleeding points


gums that are puffy and soft due to infection and toxins       


red instead of pink gum tissue


bad breath                                 


pocket depths of 3-4mm 


no bone loss


presence of plaque 


changes in contour and consistency of gum tissue


gingival recession with soft tissue defects or frenum pulls


  After 35, approximately three out of four adults develop some form of gum disease.

     If your oral hygiene habits are poor, gingivitis may progress to periodontitis.  This disease attacks your gums, bones and supporting structures of your teeth. 

     You can never completely get rid of all the bacteria in your mouth but brushing and flossing make sure the number of bacteria you do have is in a safe range. A common mistake most people make is to brush but not floss. This allows bacteria to build up to dangerous levels between your teeth where brushing alone cannot reach. When any one group or family of bacteria begin to dominate their levels of toxins increase to a point where they cause an infection.  

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     The good news is that in moderate gingivitis:

       No bone structure around the teeth has yet been lost.

       It is preventable.

       Easier to treat in a non-surgical manner.

       Less costly to treat in its early stages.

        Reattached gum tissue to a spotlessly clean root surface  

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       And it is reversible through:

1.  Professional treatments-to remove this harmful bacterial growth from you teeth and gums. white program which includes two sessions:

A. Session 1:
 1.   Full mouth debridement to
       remove contamination 
       above the gum line 
 2.   Irrigation with medications
 3.   Perio bag including home care 
 4.   Oral hygiene instructions

B. Session 2:    

      1.   Remeasuring and updating perio charting
 2.   Cleaning with fluoride
 3.   Oral hygiene instruction

2.  Six month recare visit to remove the tartar, which harbors and nurtures the growth of undesirable bacteria.

 3.  Good brushing for a minimum of twice a day and after meals (if possible) using your soft bristled perio instrument (Rota-dent) for at least two minutes.

  4.   Daily flossing Start cleaning BETWEEN your teeth.  Periodontal disease begins between the teeth.  The area between the teeth are more prone to infection than facial or tongue gum tissue surfaces simply by anatomy.  This tissue is not keratinized like tissue found on the facial and tongue surfaces.  Non-keratinized tissue is more susceptible to breakdown.  It is also a very protected area, NOT reached by brushing or rinsing. 

     Since the disease starts between the teeth, it makes sense to start cleaning in between the teeth and than brush.  You can clean this area with interdental brushes, picks, sticks, oral irrigation, and automatic flossers.  remember this disease needs to be treated both in the office and at home.++

  5.   Use of Periogard, an antimicrobial medicated mouthrinse.

  6.   Daily fluoride treatments.

  7.   Do not smoke or use alcoholic beverages while 
   your gums are inflamed.

  8.  Good dietary habits.  Cut back on foods and beverages that contain sugar.

  9.  On going education about your dental health.

    To insure successful results following periodontal treatments, patient cooperation in maintaining  excellent oral hygiene is essential.

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    Remember: If left untreated, moderate gingivitis will develop into periodontitis or severe gum disease, which will lead to:


Infection that can affect your overall health


Sore bleeding gums




Bone loss


Tooth loss


Changes affecting your appearance


Poor nutrition


Possible surgery


Costly treatments  

*AAP Parameters of Care

Case Type I Gingivitis- Diagnosis Code 4500- Inflammation of the gingiva characterized clinically by changes in color and gingival form with the presence of bleeding and/or exudates without attachment or bone loss. Light plaque and subgingival calculus can be present

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February 06, 2008

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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only.  It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of dental/medical care and is not a substitute for personal hands on dental/medical attention, diagnosis or treatment.  Persons requiring diagnosis, treatment, or with specific questions are urged to contact your family dental/health care provider for appropriate care.
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