The roots of your teeth are encased in sockets in your jawbone, and are held in place by ligaments. When your teeth and gums are healthy, the bone comes up high against the necks of your teeth and holds them tightly within their sockets. Healthy gums are even and firm against your teeth.

Left untreated, periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) destroys the bone and connective tissue that hold your teeth in place. Periodontal disease is the number-one cause of tooth loss in the United States today. It attacks your teeth and gums, as well as the bone that surrounds the teeth.

Moderate periodontal disease Plaque, a sticky film of food and bacteria, forms constantly on teeth. If it isn't removed daily, it hardens and forms tartar (calculus). As the plaque and tartar work their way down below the gum line, the gums begin to separate away from the teeth, forming pockets. At this point, the disease accelerates, as new, even more destructive types of bacteria grow and reproduce inside the pockets.

If we don't remove the tartar, your body produces enzymes as part of its natural response to the infection. These enzymes destroy the bone that holds your teeth in place. Over time, if periodontal disease goes unchecked, bone loss continues until eventually, so much bone is lost that teeth begin to loosen. Sadly, at this point the destructive effects of periodontal disease are irreversible; once bone is lost, it doesn't grow back.

Aggressive periodontal therapy, frequent visits to our office and meticulous oral hygiene can halt the progression of periodontal disease and stop the bone loss. But as we mentioned above, the bone that has already been lost will not grow back. If your teeth continue to loosen and the destruction continues, our only option will be to remove the affected teeth.