Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an infection of the gum and tissues supporting your teeth. It usually occurs due to poor oral hygiene. As the disease progresses, it can damage your gums and the bone supporting your teeth. Bone loss is a sign of advanced periodontal disease (periodontitis) and can eventually lead to tooth loss if left untreated. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how periodontal disease causes bone loss and the treatments available to help stop its progression.
How Does Periodontal Disease Lead to Bone Loss?
Periodontal disease occurs when plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that accumulates on teeth, is not removed with regular brushing and flossing. The bacteria in plaque can cause inflammation of your gums (gingivitis) and eventually lead to infection.
Gingivitis is the early stage of periodontal disease and is usually reversible. Gingivitis is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed when you brush your teeth. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis.
Periodontitis, an advanced stage of periodontal disease, causes destruction to the tooth-supporting tissues, leading to tooth mobility and loss.
Risk Factors for Bone Loss
Certain factors increase the risk of periodontal disease and bone loss. These include:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Dry mouth
- Poor nutrition
- Hormonal changes (such as pregnancy)
- Certain medications, such as anticonvulsants and calcium channel blockers
- Medical conditions, such as diabetes
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease Bone Loss
The signs and symptoms of periodontal disease bone loss include:
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Persistent bad breath even after brushing your teeth
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Receding gums or teeth appearing longer than normal
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Changes in the way teeth fit together when you bite
- Unexplained tooth loss
- Visible bone loss in the jaw area
- Difficulty or discomfort when chewing
Treatment Options for Periodontal Disease Bone Loss
The treatment of periodontal disease and bone loss depends on the severity of the condition. Your dentist or periodontist may recommend any of the following treatments for bone loss in teeth:
- Deep cleaning of teeth: Also known as scaling and root planing, this procedure involves removing plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) from above and below the gum line to reduce inflammation and bacteria levels.
- Antibiotic therapy: To reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth, antibiotics can be administered topically or systemically.
- Flap surgery: If bone loss is severe, your periodontist may perform a surgical procedure known as flap surgery. This involves lifting the gums to access and clean the affected areas before suturing them back into place.
- Pocket reduction surgery: In some cases, excess pockets of space may form between the teeth and gums, which can trap bacteria. Pocket reduction surgery (osseous surgery) involves folding back the gum tissue to remove the pockets and prevent further bone loss.
- Bone grafting: After scaling and root planing, if there is significant bone loss due to periodontitis, bone can be regenerated with a bone graft. You can read more about periodontitis bone graft.
- Soft tissue grafting: To cover exposed root surfaces and improve the aesthetics of your smile, soft tissue grafts may be used to replace lost gum tissue.
- Tooth extraction: If the tooth is loose and can’t be saved, it may need to be removed. Your dentist may recommend dental bridges or implants to restore the area.
It’s important to note that even with successful treatment, recurrence of periodontal disease is possible. Therefore, regular checkups and proper oral hygiene are essential to keeping your mouth healthy.
How to Prevent Periodontal Disease Bone Loss
The best way to prevent periodontitis and bone loss is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and using an antibacterial mouthwash at least twice daily.
Additionally, it’s important to visit your dentist and periodontist regularly for professional teeth cleaning and checkups. This will allow them to diagnose any issues early on before they become more serious.
Finally, if you smoke or use tobacco products, quitting is the best way to reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease. Smoking has been linked to an increased rate of bone loss and other serious dental issues.
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums that can lead to significant loss of bone and tissue that support your teeth. If left untreated, it can result in tooth loss.
The treatment for periodontal disease bone loss depends on the severity of the infection. Your dentist may recommend a variety of treatments, ranging from deep cleaning (scaling and root planing) to surgeries, such as pocket reduction or bone grafting.
The best way to prevent bone loss is to practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist for regular checkups and professional cleaning.