San Diego Periodontist Discusses Gum Disease and Tooth Loss

gums and teethDid you know that periodontal (gum) disease is the number one cause of adult tooth loss in America? Unlike tooth decay, which directly attacks your tooth’s structure, periodontal disease attacks the structures that support your teeth, namely your periodontal tissue, or gums, and jawbone. By staying vigilant, however, you can detect gum disease in its earliest stage, gingivitis, and prevent the destruction that commonly leads to tooth loss. San Diego periodontist, Dr. Ann Kania, examines how periodontal disease can cost you your teeth, how to detect the disease before it causes irreversible damage, and how to preserve your oral health in the case that gum disease claims one or more teeth.

Silently Destroying Your Smile’s Foundation

Although tooth decay and gum disease are different in nature, they share similar humble beginnings—both stem from bacterial infections. The sticky substance that coats your teeth, called plaque, contains nearly 600 different kinds of oral bacteria. When plaque accumulates along your gum line, some of these germs release toxins that irritate your gum tissue and cause them to pull away from your teeth. More bacteria can crawl into the spaces between your gums and teeth, working silently to destroy the periodontal tissues, and eventually the jawbone structure, that support your teeth. This bacterial infection, known as gingivitis, causes your gums to become inflamed and often bleed when you brush your teeth, though the condition doesn’t typically generate physical discomfort. When detected early, the condition can often be reversed with comprehensive periodontal therapy to remove the infection and more effective dental hygiene to prevent its return.

You Need Your Teeth, or Good Replacements

If periodontitis develops, the destruction of your gum tissue can cause it to lose its grip on your teeth, and eventually destroy your supporting jawbone.  This can lead to tooth loss. Considering the prevalence of gum disease and tooth loss, teeth are sometimes lost. If tooth loss is imminent, then Dr. Kania may recommend replacing your lost tooth with a dental implant—the only restoration that replaces your lost tooth’s root as well as its crown.

Prevent Gum Disease and Tooth Loss with Your San Diego Periodontist

Though it is the main cause of permanent tooth loss, periodontal therapy is not the only reason for you to lose one or more teeth. Dental trauma, root resorption and severe tooth decay can also lead to tooth loss and the need for extraction. If dental disease or trauma causes you to lose a tooth, or if you’d like to learn more about preventing and treating periodontal disease, contact Dr. Kania at our San Diego periodontist office by calling (706) 642-0711. We serve patients from Encinitas, San Diego, Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, La Costa, and the neighboring communities.