The Primary Cause of Lost Teeth
Gum disease, not tooth decay, is the primary reason for tooth loss. Unfortunately, you may not even notice gum disease until you begin to lose your teeth. Symptoms include bleeding gums when you brush or floss and loose or shifting teeth. The good news is that it’s now possible to control gum disease with a multitude of non-surgical methods.
Gum Disease Can Contribute to Heart Disease and Even Stroke
Periodontal (gum) disease is more serious than loss of teeth. Recent medical research has caused many doctors to conclude that gum disease is linked to strokes and heart disease. This makes gum disease a very serious matter.
The American Academy of Periodontology reports: “Studies found periodontal infection may contribute to the development of heart disease, increase the risk of premature, underweight births, and pose a serious threat to people whose health is already compromised due to diabetes and respiratory diseases.”
Bacteria in the mouth can cause gums to become inflamed – red, swollen, and prone to bleeding easily. This early stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. If gingivitis is left untreated it can progress into periodontitis. At this stage, gums pull away from the teeth and form infected spaces (pockets) that allow bacteria and plaque to move below the gum line. Without treatment, the bacteria and our immune systems fighting the bacteria can cause a breakdown of bone and connective tissue, resulting in the loss of teeth. Bacteria at this stage will potentially reach the blood stream and create serious health issues throughout your body.
According to the American Dental Association, as many as 8 out of 10 Americans have some form of gum disease. These numbers are cause for great concern.
Now the Good News
If treated in the early stages, most gum disease can be treated with improved dental hygiene and non-surgical procedures that can stop the spread of the disease. In more advanced cases, surgical treatment is required. In the worst cases, gum surgery may require bone and tissue grafts. While not pleasant, surgery is almost always effective in controlling the disease. The procedures required to treat gum disease are usually covered under most dental insurance plans.
What’s So Bad About Losing a Tooth?
Losing a tooth, regardless of the reason, is never a good thing. Your teeth and jaw bones rely on each other for support. Losing even a single tooth can result in other teeth shifting and over time increases the potential for loss of bone. Not only will missing teeth affect your ability to chew food and absorb nutrients properly, they can change the shape of your face in the form of sunken areas and wrinkles that make you appear older.
Dental implants are the best way to correct for a missing tooth and can even be used to replace multiple teeth. Because dental implants are placed under the gum line and the material mimics the shape and color of your natural teeth, it’s almost as if you’ve grown new ones. Implants can appear so real even a dentist has to make a close examination to pick them out.
Laser Treatment for Gum Disease
We have a fantastic technique for the non-surgical laser treatment of gum disease. This allows most of our patients with moderate to advanced gum disease to avoid the traditional scalpel and suture methods of surgery. The laser procedure is called LANAP™ (Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure™) and is minimally invasive and patient-friendly. The results have been overwhelmingly positive since we adopted this technology in 2007. LANAP and the PerioLase™ laser are the only FDA-approved laser and technique for treating gum disease. It greatly enhances the body’s potential to regenerate the damaged bone and gum attachment around the teeth – something that a few years ago was thought to be impossible. We offer a free consultation to determine if LANAP is the right choice for you!
We can help arrest your gum disease and bring your smile back to health. Give us a call today at (781) 933-0422.
Adam Marengi, DMD
Joyce Baek, DMD
Charles R. Braga, DMD, MMSc
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