One of the main complaints that we hear in our office is “My Gums Are Sensitive”. An increased sensitivity in your gums should never be ignored, as it may be an indicator of a serious dental issue known as gum disease. Gum disease occurs when the gum tissue has become inflamed, and it can be quite painful. You may also notice other symptoms such as a burning or tingling sensation in your gums. Gum disease is also sometimes known as gingivitis, and though this is different from periodontitis, they sometimes occur together.
What causes sensitive gums?
Gingivitis often begins when the food you eat mixes with bacteria and saliva in your mouth and creates plaque. This plaque sicks to your teeth, creating an ample food source and breeding ground for more bacteria in your mouth. If this bacteria isn’t properly removed, it will begin to feed on and irritate the gums. This can cause them to become sensitive, and sometimes swollen.
Gingivitis has other causes as well. At times, hormonal changes, poorly aligned teeth, and poor habits such as smoking and tobacco use. If you have poor dietary habits, diabetes, or take medication prescribed for seizures, these can also cause your gums to become more sensitive.
How will gum disease be treated?
The first step in treating gum disease is to determine and eliminate any causes of the problem. You will be given a thorough professional cleaning, and will be advised on proper brushing technique. Your dentist may also make recommendations on your toothbrush, or any special mouthwash you may need. If your gum disease has been caused by a medical condition or medication, your dentist may advise that you discuss alternative treatments with your doctor.
In certain cases, gum disease may lead to the development of periodontal disease. If this has occurred, you will be scheduled for a deep cleaning, which will remove plaque from below the gum line. In more severe cases, oral surgery may be necessary to fully clean the tooth roots gum pockets, and teeth. You may also be given an antibiotic to fight any further bacterial growth in the mouth. This may be given as an antibiotic rinse or a pill. In cases where deep gum pockets have been formed, an antibiotic chip may be placed inside the gums to prevent further bacterial growth.