Gum Disease and Tooth Loss
Your oral care is important. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. It is also recommended that you have your teeth cleaned and examined professionally at least twice yearly. These habits are essential for maintaining the health of your mouth. Being lax in any component of your oral hygiene significantly increases your risk for gum disease. When gum disease goes untreated, it can even lead to tooth loss. Karl Zeren DDS can help.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a condition that results from a bacterial infection in your mouth. The bacteria that accumulate in your mouth irritate your sensitive gum tissues. This irritation triggers an inflammatory response from your immune system. This response causes the gums to swell. Without treatment, gum disease worsens over time. More advanced stages of gum disease lead to issues such as gum recession, tooth mobility, and tooth loss.
How Does Gum Disease Cause Tooth Loss?
So, how exactly does gum disease cause tooth loss? Healthy gums provide a tight, protective seal around your teeth. As your gums swell, they begin to pull away from your teeth, leading to the formation of periodontal pockets. Bacteria collect in these pockets and continue to attack your gum tissue from below the gum line.
Over time, the pockets grow deeper and deeper as more bacteria accumulate. Eventually, the bacteria reach your periodontal ligaments and your jawbone. They attack these supporting structures, weakening them. Your jawbone loses mass, and your teeth become unstable. Ultimately, your teeth become so loose that they fall out or need to be extracted.
Preventing Tooth Loss
There are things that you can do to help protect your teeth and prevent tooth loss. First, it is important that you maintain a good oral hygiene routine. This includes brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day. You should also have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined every 6 months. If you notice any signs or symptoms of gum disease, such as red, swollen gums, bleeding when you brush and floss, or gum recession, it is important that you schedule an appointment right away. The sooner treatment is provided, the easier gum disease is to treat.
What Happens if I Lose Teeth?
If you have suffered tooth loss as a result of gum disease, you can have your missing teeth replaced. First, your existing gum disease will need to be treated. After treatment, you have options when it comes to tooth replacement. Traditional treatments include fixed bridges, partial dentures, and full dentures. You may also opt for dental implants. Dental implants provide a long-term solution for tooth loss. The titanium posts that were placed within your jawbone integrate into the bone so that they can provide secure support for your replacement teeth. In addition to restoring the functions of your missing teeth and your smile, dental implants also help to stop and prevent bone loss in your jaw, preserving its integrity.
When gum disease develops, treatment is needed right away. With the right treatment, we can stop the progression of gum disease, prevent tooth loss, and restore your oral health. For more information, and to schedule your appointment, call Karl Zeren DDS at (410) 316-6141 today.