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Like Father Like Son

Dr. Crapo

Question: Dr.Crapo: I’m losing my teeth and I don’t know what to do. I lost my last molar on my upper left side three months ago, as well as my molar on my lower left side and two lower front teeth. I have only two molars left. The problem it seems is that my teeth get loose and then I seem to get decay, then they pain and break and I have to have them out. Recently, I had lower front teeth out and a temporary bridge put in. I’ve got to get some permanent work but I don’t know if I should. The dentist who did the work said that I had many other teeth that had lost a good deal of bone. He also said that I seemed to lay down an abnormal amount of calculus. He said that he had cleaned up my teeth at the time he did the extractions, removing all the buildup but then two weeks later he was amazed to see the tartar building on my temporary bridge. He said that I’d have to see a hygienist every other month and this would be very important after I got implants or a permanent bridge. He asked me if I had brothers, sisters or parents, who’d lost teeth early in life. I said I’ve got two brothers and they have good teeth like my mom but I’m more like my dad. He’s lost all his teeth. One last thing, this dentist said I had a bad bite. Am I going to lose all my teeth?

Answer: Adults lose their teeth to bone and gum problems for four main reasons. The first and most devastating is a genetic predisposition. This affects as high as 5% of the population. Though there are other reasons for tooth loss due to rapid bone breakdown, it is mostly a genetic link that is responsible.

The second reason is one’s susceptibility to one’s own plaque and calculus. These bad boys cause inflammation and inflammation weakens the gums and bone.

The third reason is tobacco use and this takes bone and gum from every tooth in the mouth. Stop the smoking and this kind of bone loss is arrested.

The fourth is tooth grinding, clenching or even squeezing the teeth together every time you swallow, if the bite is bad. Bone around teeth that get too much force gives out, especially if there’s inflammation and genetic weakening.

In your case great hygiene care coupled with harmonizing your bite will go a long way in arresting the rate of your periodontal disease. You obviously have a genetic problem. If you don’t smoke then the next big thing is to make sure the gums are very healthy and your bite brought into perfect harmony. Your teeth must not have forces that overpower your genetically weakened bone and gum. If you follow these rules this greatly improves your prognosis.

If we can help, we’d like to. Call 778-410-2080 for a consultation.


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