Gum disease, or periodontal disease, often starts as minor bleeding when brushing and flossing. If left untreated, it can lead to serious oral health issues, including tooth loss. Restorative dentistry treatments can replace missing teeth, repair dental damage, and restore oral health. To discuss your treatment options for gum disease and tooth loss, schedule a consultation with Bloomington, IL dentists Jay W. Chrisman and David D. Wyse.
How Does Gum Disease Lead to Tooth Loss?
Gum disease is a dangerous oral infection. It can lead to dental damage and spread to the structures that support the teeth. Seeking treatment for gum disease is essential for protecting oral health because the condition can lead to tooth loss, among other oral health problems, if left untreated. There are many ways in which gum disease can lead to tooth loss, including:
- Tooth decay: Tooth decay is a common side effect of gum disease and can lead to tooth loss. Gum disease can allow bacteria to reach the roots of the teeth, leading to decay below the gum line. If left untreated, tooth decay can reach the nerve and pulp tissues of the teeth, the tissues responsible for nourishing the teeth. If these tissues become infected, the tooth may die and fall out on its own or require extraction to restore oral health.
- Pockets between the gums and teeth: Gum disease can also lead to pockets forming between the gums and teeth. Pockets develop as plaque, tartar, and food remnants collect at the gum line. As more debris collects, the pockets become larger. This loosens the hold of the gums on the teeth and can allow bacteria to infect the structures beneath the gums, leading to tooth loss.
- Gum recession: Gum recession is another problem associated with gum disease. As the gum infection becomes more severe, the gums may recede, loosening the gums grip on the teeth. The teeth may eventually become loose and fall out.
- Damage beneath the gum line: The bacteria that cause gum disease can spread to other areas of the mouth, specifically the jawbone. When the jaw becomes infected, bone tissue is often lost, impairing the jawbone's ability to support the teeth.
Prevention and Treatment of Gum Disease and Tooth Loss
Gum disease is most easily prevented with proper dental care, like practicing good oral hygiene habits and seeing your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings. Flossing daily is particularly beneficial in reducing the risk of gum disease because flossing removes plaque between the teeth and along the gum line where brushing can't reach. If gum disease is present, or tooth loss has occurred, there are treatments available to restore oral health, including:
- Root planing and scaling
- Gum surgery, such as a gingivectomy or flap procedure
- Tooth replacement using dental implants, dental bridges, or dentures
Schedule a Consultation
To receive your personalized treatment plan, or for answers to your questions about gum disease and tooth loss, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Drs. Chrisman and Wyse.