Teeth, Gums, and Gaps: How Periodontal Disease Causes Tooth Loss
Here at Ridgewood Dental Associates, we offer comprehensive general dentistry treatment, which means we focus on treating the teeth as well as the gums. Focusing on hard and soft tissues in the mouth means we're able to prevent tooth decay as well as treat periodontal disease, which you may know better as gum disease.
Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. It's caused by the same oral bacteria that causes tooth decay and bad breath. As the inflammation of gum disease gets worse, the side effects and dental health issues become more pronounced. In some cases, gum disease can cause tooth loss.
What Are the Stages of Gum Disease?
There are three stages of gum disease. Listed from least severe to most severe, they are as follows:
- Advanced periodontitis
Early treatment of gum disease is always best since it minimizes the amount of damage done to the gumline and other parts of the mouth.
Tooth Loss and Loose Teeth
When gum disease progresses to its more advanced stages, a person's gum tissue is severely affected. The gum tissue may be seriously inflamed, and it may also recede, which means peeling back from the tooth and exposing the root structure. It's possible for a person's teeth to become very loose given the lack of support. It's also possible for the teeth to fall out.
Tooth Loss and Decay of the Root Structure
When gum disease exposes the root structure of a tooth, it leaves that usually protected part of a tooth prone to tooth decay. Tooth decay at the root of a tooth can be quite serious, and it's often difficult to treat. The cavity may weaken the overall tooth structure, resulting in a broken tooth and tooth loss.
Tooth Loss and Root Canal Infections
Inside of each tooth is a small bundle of soft tissue known as dental pulp. The dental pulp is comprised of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue that allow a tooth to feel heat, cold, and pressure. When oral bacteria enters the internal chamber of the tooth (often due to tooth injury or tooth decay), a root canal infection occurs. If the tooth is not treated soon enough, it may need to be extracted in order to save the tooth from extraction.
Smoking/Tobacco May Play a Role
Smoking and the use of tobacco products can lead to a whole host of health issues. In addition to lung disease, heart disease, and different kinds of cancers, tobacco products can lead to a higher risk of infection. This means a greater risk of gum disease and gum recession.
Studies have found that people who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day are more likely to be missing one to three teeth after 10 years.
Treating Gum Disease
When it comes to treating gum disease, the best option is getting the infection under the control. A combination of antiseptic rinses and antibiotic medications may be used.
Treating Tooth Loss
Tooth loss can be treated through the use of traditional dental appliances such as bridges and dentures. Some patients may be eligible to receive dental implants to fix these appliances in place.
Speak with the Team at Ridgewood Dental Associates
For more information about tooth loss and how it can be treated effectively, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team at Ridgewood Dental Associates is here to help you smile with renewed confidence.