Gingivitis is a localized or generalized inflammation of the gingiva of infectious or viral origin. It can also develop under a removable prosthesis.
The evolution is generally slow and progressive but it should never be underestimated since it can contaminate and destroy the underlying bone. Since this condition is not very painful, the dentist or dental hygienist usually detects it at a recall visit.
First the origin must be detected. Most frequently the oral hygiene is insufficient, but the gingivitis can also be a secondary effect of a medicament, a hormonal issue (i.e. pregnancy), an accidental wound (caused for example by a toothbrush or a toothpick), a burn (food or drink), or in relation to a precancerous lesion.
The most serious is ulcero-necrotic Gingivitis. There is a generalized inflammation of the gingiva and it is very painful. It requires immediate antibiotics and mouthwashes. Usually anti-inflammatory medication and painkillers are prescribed as well. The condition is rarely seen nowadays because of efficient preventive measures.
There are other diseases of the gingiva and soft tissues of the mouth. In certain cases the dentist will refer the patient to a specialist (stomatologist) to confirm his/her diagnosis.