When teeth and gums don’t get cleaned properly, the food particles mix with bacteria in your mouth and develop a soft substance called plaque. This plaque if not removed can turn into a harder substance known as dental tartar or calculus. If tartar is still not removed, it start impinging on the gums and create a seperation between the gums and the tooth. Once this seperation occurs, it allows for more food particles and bacteria to work its way down into the gum. The bacteria secrete waste from eating your microscopic food particles that can destroy gums and bone around the tooth. Once this sequence is established, brushing or flossing will not help remove this. A dental deep cleaning or Scaling and root planing procedure is needed. This is where dental professionals such as a dentist or dental hygienist takes their instruments and goes under the gumline to remove this structure of tartar. Once destruction of the bone has occured, the bone cannot grow back. If enough bone gets destroyed around the tooth, the tooth then loses its support and removal of the tooth is indicated. We commonly find that missing rountine cleanings (depending on one’s dental hygiene) over 1-2 yrs will lead to this. Its very important to see a dentist and have your teeth professionally cleaned so this process does not occur. I have attached a diagram that describes this.
– Dr. Johnston