Gingival gel is an viscous, therapeutic or anesthetic substance that can be applied to mucous membranes inside the mouth to promote healing or reduce pain from gingivitis, a condition commonly known as periodontal disease. The gel is generally massaged into gums, particularly those that are bleeding, inflamed or pulling away from the teeth, causing gaps. Special care is usually taken to get the gel into gum tears and sockets. Often, gels include ingredients that kill and reduce oral bacteria that, if unchecked, can lead to tooth loss. Additives in a gingival gel might also include artificial sweeteners and flavorings.
The active ingredients in most anesthetic gingival gels tend to be numbing medications, such as benzocaine, prilocaine or lignocaine, as well as antiseptics for sterilizing the mouth, such as cetrimide. Numbing gels are typically applied only once daily to prevent overdose. A daily dosage might have between 5 mg and 7 mg of active topical anesthesia in roughly 100 grams of gel. Overdosing may generate shortness of breath, hot flashes or headaches. In extreme cases, seizures have resulted; for this reason, dentists advise users to spit out surplus gel instead of swallowing it.
A healing gingival gel typically does not have anesthesia. Instead, it contains a microbicide, which can halt the overgrowth of microorganisms causing periodontal disease, and a reparative substance, which can mend damaged gum and mouth tissue. Many natural-based gels use hyaluronan, which is an organic healing ingredient known for multiplying the growth of cells in gum tissue, enabling decaying gums to be replaced.
Other natural substances in a healing gingival gel might include bee propolis and alpha-tocopherol, commonly called vitamin E. Made from bees, propolis is innately antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal, enabling it to cure malicious microbes in the mouth; some users claim it stimulates new gum tissue. Unlike bee honey, it does not promote cavities or cause harm to teeth. Vitamin E is also touted for healing diseased gums.
A healing gingival gel is often used in the early to moderate stages of gum disease in an attempt to reverse its effects. Anesthetic gingival gels are typically used to mitigate discomfort after surgeries that treat gum disease, such as root planing, which involves scraping hardened bacteria near the roots of teeth, or curettage, a surgery involving the excising of diseased gum tissue. Dental patients might also use anesthetic gingival gels after tooth implants, tooth removal, scaling and other orthodontic operations. This gel may also be useful in soothing the painful attachment of braces or simply during the treatment of mouth ulcers or sensitive, aching gums.