How Periodontal Disease Leads To Tooth Loss
If left untreated, infection in the gums can ultimately destroy your natural teeth. The process works like this:
- Plaque and tartar build up on your gums and at the boundary between your teeth and gums.
- Bacterial colonies form on your gums and develop into thin "bio-films" that cling to the gums and eat away at them.
- Your gum line begins to recede as the gum infection deepens and spreads. This allows deep bacterial pockets to form in interdental spaces around your tooth roots.
- Cavities form in your tooth roots, ultimately infecting the internal tooth "pulp." At this point, a root canal could possibly still save the tooth.
- Teeth deteriorate beyond repair, loosen, and may even fall completely out of your mouth.
If teeth are lost, you can opt for dental implants or for dentures or bridges, but it's always much better to prevent tooth loss than to have to resort to tooth restoration procedures.
Doing What You Can To Prevent Tooth Loss
While wearing a mouth guard and simply being careful can help prevent tooth loss due to an accident or sports injury, most tooth loss occurs due to poor oral hygiene. Poor oral hygiene, in turn, often leads to gum disease, which leads to tooth loss.
Keeping a clean mouth via brushing, flossing, and using an antiseptic mouthwash twice daily and by eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water will go a long way in protecting your dental health.
But there are things only your dentist or periodontist can handle for you. For example, once plaque hardens to tartar, you'll never get it off by brushing - it takes specialized dental cleaning tools.
Seeing your periodontist as soon as you detect signs of gum disease, like sore gums or gums that easily bleed, is key. And you should invest in an annual periodontal check up as well, especially if you're over 40, when gum disease becomes much more prevalent.
Why Opt For Laser Periodontal Treatment?
Once you have gum disease to deal with, the only question is how to best treat it - and in a way that does the most to prevent tooth loss. Laser periodontal surgery has several advantages in this regard:
- The laser eradicates infection causing bacteria more thoroughly than any other method - around 99% of all bacteria. This helps prevent a re-infection.
- Lasers also sterilize and cauterize the gums after cutting off or vaporizing the infected tissue. This helps prevent infection and minimizing bleeding or swelling of the gums post-op.
- Laser treatment leaves you more of your healthy gum tissue because of the precision with which the laser cuts. And, it stimulates the gums to encourage regeneration of gum tissue. This helps your gums cover your tooth roots again faster.