"Necrotizing" means that the condition destroys tissue. "Ulcerative" refers to sores that can appear on the gums. This condition used to be known as acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG) and Vincent's disease, among other names. During World War I, NUG was known as trench mouth because many soldiers in the trenches suffered from it. Some dentists may still use these terms.
Stress and heavy smoking are probably the factors that most increase risk for NUG. Some studies have found that NUG is common in students during exam periods. Stress may cause certain changes in the body's ability to deal with the bacterial infection that causes NUG.
Besides stress and smoking, other factors can increase your risk for NUG:
In some people, NUG may be caused by another systemic (body-wide) disease, such as AIDS.
The dentist then will examine your head and neck to check for swollen lymph glands and will examine your mouth.
NUG is different from other forms of gum disease in three ways:
In some cases, a dentist will take X-rays. These can show whether bone has been lost or there is some other problem causing or contributing to your symptoms.
The dentist will give you instructions, including:
If you have a severe form of NUG, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics. You will be asked to come back in one or two days for evaluation and further treatment.
By your next visit, it is likely that the symptoms of NUG will have started to subside. Your dentist will clean the area more aggressively with a process called scaling and root planing. He or she will examine your other teeth to see if any are affected and will review your home-care instructions.
You should return one or two days later for a third visit. By this time, most patients are free of symptoms. If you do not have any other gum conditions, your dentist will want to see you in a month for a follow-up examination and cleaning. If you have other problems, your dentist will suggest treatment.
Even though your symptoms may improve after the first visit, it is very important to return for follow-up appointments. If NUG is not treated adequately, the symptoms can return.