Periodontal Disease

Most of us are told growing up that tooth loss is commonly caused by cavities. This is more of a tactic used by parents to get their children to brush or stop eating sweets. Tooth loss is the result of a painless and slowly progressive problem called periodontal disease, or trench mouth. Periodontal disease comes from ongoing bacteria in the bone supporting the teeth.

The cause? Inadequate or incorrect brushing and flossing.

Even with regular brushing, infections can occur between teeth where toothbrushes cannot reach. Minor gum infections from improper cleaning can lead to red, puffy, and sensitive gums. However, serious bone infections can lead to permanent loss of the bone itself. Even if you start daily dental hygiene after discovering the problem, it will only slow the process. Lost bone fragments will never grow back. The resulting "holes" in your bone are difficult to clean. They collect plaque and food debris causing further infection. These infections cause more bone loss with larger "holes.” Ultimately, you lose teeth and develop painful sores.

Even more troubling than the results is it often progresses without any painful symptoms. Only regular x-rays and teeth probing will reveal any symptoms. Probing involves placing a slender measuring instrument between your gums and each tooth. Any increases in distance between tooth and gum indicate deterioration, possibly from infection. In our practice, we take six such measurements around each tooth. These measurements, combined with the information derived from the x-rays to determine if you are at risk for having periodontal disease. The most effective treatment for this disease is prevention.


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