Treatments and drugsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Prompt treatment can usually reverse symptoms of gingivitis and prevent its progression to more serious gum disease and tooth loss. Effective treatment requires professional care followed by stepped up oral hygiene at home.
Professional gingivitis care includes:
- An initial evaluation and thorough dental cleaning to remove all traces of plaque and tartar
- Instruction on effective daily home brushing and flossing techniques
- Regular follow-up professional checkups and cleaning
- Fixing dental restorations that hinder adequate hygiene, if necessary
Follow-up home care includes:
- Brushing at least twice a day. An electric toothbrush may help you brush more effectively.
- Flossing at least daily.
- Using an antiseptic mouth rinse, if recommended by your dentist.
Your initial professional cleaning will include use of dental instruments to remove all traces of plaque and tartar — a procedure known as scaling. Scaling may be uncomfortable, especially if your gums are already sensitive or you have extensive plaque and tartar buildup.
Misaligned teeth or poorly fitting crowns, bridges or other dental restorations may irritate your gums and also make it harder to remove plaque during your daily home care. If any of these conditions is contributing to your gingivitis, your dentist may recommend fixing these problems.
Gingivitis usually clears up after a thorough professional cleaning — as long as you continue to follow a program of good oral hygiene at home. Your dentist will help you plan an effective home follow-up program. He or she will review brushing and flossing techniques to make sure you're getting maximum benefit from your home cleaning. Your dentist may also recommend using an antiseptic mouth rinse to help clear away bacteria.
If you're consistent with your home hygiene, you should see the return of pink, healthy gum tissue within days or weeks. You'll need to practice good oral hygiene for life, however, so your gum problems don't return.
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