Periodontal Health and Your Smile: How Gum Disease Causes Tooth Loss

Gum Disease and Tooth Loss – Toronto, ON

The negative effects of gum diseaseOur Toronto restorative dentistry practice offers countless treatments to help improve the beauty and health of people’s smiles. This includes procedures that address the teeth, the gums, and other structures of the mouth. Many people take their gums for granted, however, which means a greater risk of gum disease and eventual tooth loss.

Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is a bacterial infection of a person’s gum tissue. The bacteria that cause gum disease is the same bacteria that cause tooth decay and bad breath. Initially, gum disease starts as a basic inflammation of the gums, though in later stages it can lead to serious dental problems and even issues with general wellness.

Stages of Gum Disease

There are three stages of gum disease. From least serious to most serious, they are as follows:

  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Advanced periodontitis

It’s best to treat gum disease as soon as possible in order to prevent more serious health problems from occurring.

Loose Teeth and Gum Recession

In later stages of gum disease, the infection can lead to major problems with the health of the gums. Gum recession may occur, which means the peeling back of the gum tissue from around the tooth. This exposes more of the tooth root, which can, in turn, lead to loose or wiggly teeth. These matters make tooth loss much more likely.

Increased Risk of Tooth Decay Below the Gumline

With gum recession comes a greater risk of tooth decay. In these instances, the decay will originate below the gumline. This kind of tooth decay is difficult to treat, and the weakening of a tooth down at the root level can make broken teeth far more likely.

Increased Risk of Root Canal Infections

With tooth decay below the gumline, the risk of root canal infection increases. Within each tooth is soft tissue, nerves, and blood vessels. Tooth decay down at the gumline makes it easier for bacteria to infect this soft tissue, resulting in serious pain and potential spread of infection. To avoid serious dental problems, extraction of the tooth may be necessary.

Smoking, Gum Disease, and Tooth Loss

People who smoke are more likely to be missing teeth, and part of the reason for this involves gum disease. Smokers are more likely to suffer from infections, which include gum disease. Studies have found that someone who smokes a pack a day for 10 years is more likely to be missing a tooth or multiple teeth.

Treatments for Gum Disease

When it comes to treating gum disease, the best options typically involve the use of antiseptic rinses or antibiotic medications. These will help get the infection under control. As for gum recession, treating this issue will usually involve soft tissue augmentation procedures which involve grafts placed to rebuild the gumline.

Treatments for Missing Teeth

If you are missing a tooth or multiple teeth, there are a few options available. Dental bridges and dentures are a common option for most patients. Some people may be good candidates for dental implants, which are artificial tooth roots surgically anchored into the jawbone and gum tissue. Candidacy for these options can be discussed during a consultation.

Learn More About Improving Your Dental Health

For more information about gum disease and how it can affect your overall dental health and wellness, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic and restorative dentist today. Our team will work with you to ensure you can smile with renewed confidence.

Related article: Gum Disease Treatment – Gingivitis, Periodontitis, Advanced Periodontitis