When it comes to permanent tooth loss, ask yourself: "How deep are your pockets?" Don't just consider your finances either. A good dentist shows just as much concern for your periodontal pockets along the gums as for your timely payment - mainly because he or she knows that advanced gingivitis leads to periodontal disease, which ranks number one in teeth-killing perpetrators. And just in case you've been living under a rock all these years, here's some news: Dentists carry superhero status in tooth saving, waging war with a wide variety of old and new weapons. Here's how you'll know it's time to speed dial your own "masked crusader" and redeem your loose teeth:
Primary Tooth Loss - Baby tooth loss is natural for children between 5 and 12, unless the child loses them to tooth decay. If cavities plague your child, it may be time to instill better brushing habits to prevent permanent tooth loss in adolescence and adulthood.
Loose Teeth - Obviously. If that tooth is a rockin' you should go a knockin' ... on your dentist's office door. Periodontitis, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ or TMD) and traumatic injury all cause loose teeth. Act quickly though, and your dentist could wrangle that squirmy rascal into settling back down. A good splint and a refresher course on oral hygiene may just deliver you from permanent tooth loss.
Painful Chewing - A sign of loose teeth, infection in the root or gums, or TMD. Whatever the cause, this symptom blows a call to arms to prevent loose teeth engendered by gingivitis or periodontitis.
Persistent Bad Breath - If you notice your friends enlarging personal perimeters around you and constantly offering gum, you may have bad breath and you may not be able to detect it. Worse, the cause of halitosis may stem from your diseased gums and may lead to tooth loss.
Red, Swollen, Receding, Tender or Bleeding Gums - All signs of periodontal disease. Ask your dentist to determine whether or not you'll find loose teeth soon or if you will be missing many teeth long before seniority.
Sensitive Teeth - If hot, cold or sweet foods make you cringe, your cavity and/or gum disease may lead to permanent tooth loss.
If you have any of these symptoms, please contact your dentist. The first thing your dental superhero will do to save your loose teeth and deliver you from future tooth loss is perform a visual check. Using a special ruler, a dentist measures your periodontal pockets, which should range from 1-3 millimeters if healthy. Anything more than that indicates gum disease and a risk of permanent tooth loss.
Dentists apply old and new weapons while tamping down gum disease and saving you from tooth loss. Scaling employs either ultrasound or old school metal instruments to remove tartar and bacteria. The still effective root planing smoothes surfaces on the anchors of your teeth to prevent plaque buildup. And the Mayo Clinic says some dentists use antibiotics in an act of chemical warfare (though the results of this method remain unclear). Extremely advanced periodontitis may require oral surgery and already loose teeth may require a splint.
The important thing to remember is this: If you have potential tooth loss symptoms, call your dentist as soon as possible.
And if you need to find a dentist, call us 24 hours a day at 1-866-970-0441.