Bone Loss and Periodontal Disease
Gum loss is quite easy to identify. Even if gums recede as little as one millimeter, patients are likely to notice the dark appearance of the exposed root. Once the gum recession takes hold, it isn’t long before people feel insecure about their smiles or experience further complications.
While gum loss is unfortunate, there might be more severe problems such as bone loss and periodontal disease. These issues are often harder for the uninformed patient to detect on their own.
We thought we would take some time to talk about bone loss and periodontal disease (also known as gum disease), and how these severe issues can lead to unfortunate bouts of gum recession. We’ll also discuss treatment options and how to tackle these significant issues.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact our facilities at (416) 928-3444. With us, appointments are easy to schedule, and every question has an answer!
Receding Gums and the Internet Patient
Over the years, we’ve treated a variety of patients with similar concerns and oral health issues. There is one type of patient we see over and over––let us call them the Internet Patient. They are a little different from our other patients.
Rather than being referred to us by their dentist, they come to us on their own accord. They typically find us after searching the web for reputable periodontists in the Greater Toronto Area. The general concern expressed by the Internet Patient, is gum recession. They come to us after noticing that their gums have receded, and they seek treatment urgently. To restore their gums to their former glory, they ask us to perform a gum tissue graft.
While receding gums are easy to spot, it also has the potential to become a major health concern. When the roots of the teeth become exposed, a patient has more to worry about than their smile’s appearance. When roots are exposed, they’re vulnerable to decay, and ultimately tooth loss. If gums are treated in the early stages of recession, the process can be stopped or completely reversed.
Contrary to what the Internet Patient thinks, gum recession isn’t always the primary problem—it is a symptom of a more significant problem.
When Gum Recession Isn’t Your Only Problem
When the Internet Patient comes to us because of their receding gums, we first perform a thorough examination of the gums and teeth. Our findings usually confirm their fears of gum recession, but sometimes we detect other more severe issues, such as bone loss.
Many clients think their gum loss is a result of aggressive brushing or certain dietary choices. While brushing too aggressively can cause gum recession, bone loss can be a contributing factor.
The Connection Between Bone Loss and Gum Loss
Bone loss occurs as a result of tooth loss and periodontitis (also known as gum disease). Gum disease affects 50% of the population over the age of 50, and it goes unchecked among countless young individuals. In cases of periodontitis, bacteria eat at the underlying jawbone and the ligaments that connect the jawbone to the teeth. As the bone deteriorates, the gums have less tooth and bone to hold on to. With the loss of bone, gums begin to recede.
As a leading periodontal facility in the GTA, we are more than capable of treating gum disease and gum recession. We can bring bone loss to a halt with dedicated treatments, thorough cleaning, and ongoing management.
Bone Loss Prevention with Dr. Suzanne Caudry
A variety of measures can prevent future bone loss. If periodontitis is detected early, the minimally invasive and non-surgical treatments include:
Through scaling, we can remove tartar and bacteria from your teeth and the areas between the bone and gum (known as pockets). Scaling above and below the gumline ensures that your teeth are clean all the way to the bottom of the gum pocket.
Unfortunately, if your gum pockets exceed a depth of 5 mm, scaling may not be an effective treatment. When a patient’s gum pockets are too deep, we will have to explore other methods of treatment. This is why it is always important to detect periodontitis, pocket depth, and any other dental issues early. The earlier they’re identified, the less extensive treatment will be.
After completion of the scaling procedure, we can perform root planing. To plane roots is to smooth the root surfaces to discourage bacteria and tartar buildup. When roots are smooth and free of bacteria, they stimulate the re-attachment of gums to teeth.
Antibiotics and Antimicrobials
Many antibiotics and antimicrobials can keep bacterial infections under control. Topical antibiotics or antibacterials used in professional irrigation treatment are recent treatment modalities. These can often treat the disease without involving surgery.
Surgical Treatments for Advanced Gum Disease and Bone Loss
In the event that gum disease has progressed, we are capable of performing a variety of surgical treatments. Here is some information about a few conventional surgical treatments and procedures we perform.
During flap surgery, also known as pocket reduction surgery, Dr. Caudry makes small incisions in the gum in an effort to create a ‘flap’. The flap is then opened, allowing for more effective scaling and root smoothing. After the flaps are sutured shut and healed, future cleaning will be much more effective.
Soft Tissue Grafting
When gums recede without bone loss, tissue grafts are in order. In most cases, tissue from the roof of your mouth is attached to the receded area. Tissue grafts help reduce the chances of root exposure and the negative effects that accompany it.
Bone grafting is a fairly simple procedure. This procedure is performed when gum disease has wreaked extensive havoc on the bone surrounding the root of the tooth. At our facilities, we use donated bone material during the grafting process. Bone grafting helps prevent future tooth loss by holding teeth in place and encourages the growth of new bone. Bone grafts are sometimes performed to reconstruct sites prior to implant placement, as well.
Bring Your Questions and Concerns to Dr. Caudry
Are you worried that you may have unchecked periodontitis? Are your gums gradually receding? Whatever the case, we invite you to contact our facilities whenever you have questions or concerns. Contact us at (416) 928-3444.