The mouth is a fascinating organ. It is responsible for many functions, including chewing and breaking down foods to aid in digestion. Our teeth are sort of an extension of our bones, as they are made of virtually the same material. That’s why we have tooth enamel; to protect the delicate nerves at the root of your teeth. Unfortunately, however, the coating on our teeth can erode, causing dangerous bacteria to harm the teeth, eventually targeting the gums and causing gingivitis. When left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis, and that means bad news for your oral health.
What Causes Dental Bone Loss?
Chronic periodontitis occurs when harmful bacteria is left to eat away at your teeth and gums, eventually making its way towards your jawbone. For many patients who have been unable to treat this during the initial stages, it can lead to tooth loss. In some cases, the tissues surrounding the tooth will weaken, causing it to fall out. In others, Dr. Acosta will have to perform a tooth extraction to remove a bad tooth from the mouth. In any case, losing teeth is one of the most significant contributors to bone loss, mainly due to resorption.
Other reasons why patients develop weakened bones and lose teeth are osteoporosis, diabetes, and autoimmune deficiency disorders.You May Also Like: “The Powerful Link Between Oral Hygiene and Overall Health”
Can Gum Disease Be Treated?
Thankfully, there are a multitude of ways to treat, reverse, and further prevent periodontitis. Depending on how severe your current gum disease is and the state of your oral health, Dr. Acosta can customize a treatment plan to address the issue.
In the early stages of gingivitis, you can work diligently to reverse it on your own. Staying on top of your oral health care, at-home teeth cleaning routine, and everyday diet can help to reverse the early stages of gum disease. Once you have developed periodontitis, you’ll have to visit a dentist – at-home care and treatments will not be enough. A dentist can treat this stage with a deep dental cleaning, laser treatments, root canals, and similar dental procedures. Advanced or chronic periodontal patients and those who have lost teeth, however, will likely be facing a long list of treatments to regenerate their dental health. The good news is, though, it is definitely possible!
For some patients, they have already had periodontitis claim one or more of their teeth. At this point, they now become susceptible to further problems, like bone loss. The integrity of your jawbone depends on the strength of your teeth, so when you lose a tooth, your jawbone starts to fall apart, as well. The alveolar bone, which is responsible for maintaining the shape and structure of your mouth, has been known to depreciate at a rapid rate; within just one year following a tooth loss or extraction, your bone will experience a 25% decrease in width.
If you continue to leave this untreated, or opt for a solution like dentures, you will continue to see a decrease in bone density. Eventually, the shape of your jaw will begin to deform, causing a sunken, sagging appearance. Plus, it places you at a higher risk for losing more teeth.
Reversing and Preventing Bone Loss
So, what can you do after you have lost a tooth? Whenever possible, take care of it immediately! You can have an implant mounted in the place where you lost the tooth. This is especially beneficial when a patient has lost more than one tooth. A titanium post is fitted into the cavity, which eventually fuses with your existing bone, offering additional reinforcement to keep its shape.
Some patients have experienced too much bone loss for dental implants. Don’t lose hope, though! A procedure known as a bone grafting can help patients to rebuild and regenerate bone in areas where resorption has occurred, such as the jaw. This procedure is only for extreme cases, and unfortunately, not all candidates will be eligible for this. If you find that a bone graft is a suitable option for you, the dentist will discuss the process with you, which typically includes taking a small amount of bone from a donor area, like your hip.
As you can imagine, the best route to take is prevention, rather than correction. The best way to do this is to stick to a regular dental health routine, such as brushing, flossing, rinsing with mouthwash, and even cleaning your tongue. Your diet also plays a more notable role in oral health than you would think, so take stock of your eating and drinking habits. Combine that with regular visits to your dentist, a good fluoride toothpaste, and overall good health habits, and you can significantly reduce the risk of bacteria entering your body.
Dental Implants and Oral Care From Experts in Palm Beach
At Acosta Dental Arts, PA, we specialized in advanced restorative dentistry treatments, such as dental implants. To ensure your jaw is healthy enough for implants, we first use an x-ray to take an in-depth look at your jaw. From there, Dr. Acosta will sit down with you to discuss a treatment plan that is perfect for you. Contact us today at 561-622-0301 to schedule an introductory consultation today!