Lesson 1: Characteristics of Gingivitis


Gingivitis is inflammation of the gingiva surrounding the teeth, with no radiographic evidence of bone loss. It is caused primarily by bacterial plaque.

Probing Nina’s gingivae reveals gingival sulci slightly deeper than normal. The gingivae show signs of inflammation marked by erythema, edema, and bleeding. Looking at the image, each silver or black segment represents 3 millimeters (mm), meaning that this probe is measuring a sulcus depth of 3 mm. If the gingiva was not swollen, the depth would be closer to 2 mm, which is normal. Because of inflammation, the pocket appears deeper than it really is.

Plaque and calculus can extend below the gingival margin into the gingival sulci, causing infection. The radiographs show that Nina’s supporting bony structures are normal.

Dr. Lee to Nina: "Your teeth are healthy and normal. However, you have quite a bit of swelling and redness, called “gingivitis,” which is causing your symptoms."

Image: Probing reveals gingival sulci slightly deeper than normal.