Gum Disease Can Also Affect Your Jaw Health

Elderly woman holding her jaw. Caption: Periodontal disease can affect you jaw.

AT DENTAL PARTNERS OF BOSTON, we’ve been fighting a war against gum disease for a long time. Many of our patients are surprised to learn that in adults, tooth loss is usually a direct result of gum disease! New research is showing that gum disease hurts even more than your teeth…

Periodontal Disease Hurts Your Jaw In Two Ways

The bacteria that causes gum disease is a bad influence on the whole chemistry of your mouth. It causes proteins that normally protect your teeth and gums to turn traitor and start attacking bone mass (in your jaw) instead.

The second way gum disease hurts your jaw is through tooth loss. When you lose a tooth, the jawbone in that area starts to deteriorate due to a process called bone resorption. This occurs because the jawbone no longer receives the stimulation it needs from the tooth’s roots.

Teeth play a crucial role in maintaining the health of the jawbone. When you chew, the pressure exerted on the teeth stimulates the surrounding bone tissue, keeping it strong and healthy. Additionally, the tooth roots embedded in the jawbone provide mechanical support and help to preserve its structure.

However, when a tooth is lost and not replaced, the lack of stimulation leads to a decrease in bone density and volume in that area. Over time, the jawbone can shrink and weaken, which can affect the stability of neighboring teeth and the overall structure of the jaw.

This process can have various consequences, including changes in facial appearance, difficulties with chewing and speaking, and potential problems with dental prosthetics or dental implants if you decide to replace the missing tooth later on. Therefore, it’s essential to address tooth loss promptly to prevent or minimize bone resorption and its associated complications.

Make Sure You Have An Anti-Gum-Disease Strategy

Depending on where you are with your gum health, here are three plans A, B, and C, to help you take care of your teeth.

Plan A: Preventative Care

Your best option is to prevent gum disease in the first place. If gum disease hasn’t progressed, then you can stop it simply through a careful at-home dental routine. This includes proper brushing and flossing two times a day. Dental cleaning appointments with our team are also an important part of gum disease prevention.

Plan B: Periodontal Treatment

However, if gum disease has already progressed, you’ll need some extra TLC. We may recommend scaling and root planing, which will make it easier to clean your teeth and prevent hidden pockets of bacteria. We also have advanced laser periodontal treatment, which removes the diseased tissue without hurting your healthy gums.

Plan C: Dental Implants

How do you restore oral health once it’s gone so far that you have lost teeth? Don’t let your jaw suffer the consequences—the best solution for tooth loss is dental implants. Unlike dental bridges, implants can actually fuse with the jawbone and prevent jawbone deterioration.

Questions? Let’s Talk

Let us help you work out a plan to prevent or treat gum disease. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

Thanks for being a valued part of our practice!

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