A Lost Cause

A Lost Cause

One of the great frustrations in life is losing things. We often lose our keys, a remote, and, from my
experience, some even misplace their floss. Of course, even more frustrating, when we can’t make out
why we lost these things in the first place, we lose our minds. In dentistry, one of the most arduous
conversations to have with patients is that they are losing their teeth, unbeknownst to them the reason
why. The cause is the dental condition dubbed “the silent disease” otherwise known as periodontal
disease.
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease affecting the soft and hard tissues supporting the teeth
that is not immediately noticeable. These days, most everyone has heard their dentist mention this oral
disorder, but it can still be difficult to recognize or understand without explanation. Periodontal disease
is most often caused by bacteria beneath the gums that causes inflammation of the supporting tissues.
The hardened bacteria becomes a plaque that cannot be removed by normal brushing and flossing
because of its depth in the tissue and adherence to the tooth. Prolonged inflammation as a result of the
bacteria results in unrecoverable bone loss, which can eventually result in tooth loss.
By understanding of the development of periodontal disease, dentists will now frequently measure for
pocket depths that show bleeding indicating inflammation to catch periodontal disease before the
destruction of the tissue. Typically, early periodontal disease is resolved by cleaning beneath the gums.
Of course, personal home care helps as flossing the bacteria as a film above the gum prevents its
progression. Other adjunctive treatment that is beneficial includes power toothbrushes, water flossing,
or mouthwashes.
A preventative approach is the best way to keep from an unwanted dental surprise. Regular dental
appointments will help keep you and your dentist knowledgeable about the state of your periodontal
health. Your teeth will thank you.

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