Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Swelling, redness, pain, and bleeding of the gums are signs of gingivitis.
The breath begins to take on a foul odor.
The gums begin to lose their normal structure and color. The gums, which were once strong and pink, begin to recede away from the teeth and take on a beefy red, inflamed color.
Inflammation is a complex system by which bacteria-fighting cells of the body are recruited to an area of bacterial infection. Inflammation plays a major role in gingivitis. It is this inflammation of the gums that accounts for most of the symptoms of gingivitis.
When bacteria first begin to invade the gums, proteins present in the saliva and soft tissues called antibodies coat the bacteria and weaken it, making it an easy target for the body's immune system. The cells that encounter the bacteria first attempt to kill it and, in the meantime, release chemicals into the bloodstream to call other cells to their aid.
One particular cell called a macrophage is responsible for ingesting the bacteria and dissolving them with chemicals. This system works nicely, but it is not terribly efficient. While the invading bacteria are destroyed, chemicals used by the immune system cells to kill them are spilled into the surrounding tissues. This not only kills the bacteria but damages the nearby connective tissues and cells of the gums as well.
The body sees this inflammation as a small price to pay for stopping the bacteria. This process will continue until the source of the infection is removed.
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