Why A Deep Cleaning May Not Cure Your Gum Disease ?

By Dr. Oscar Marin DDS

Most people, including dentists understand gum disease as a chronic inflammation or  infection of  the  gum and bone that support  the  teeth.  That’s  where  the  consensus  ends.   The traditional  way  to  treat  gum  disease  is  scaling of the roots followed by periodic maintenance. This traditional approach is based  on  the  belief  that  the primary cause  of the infection is poor hygiene and bacteria colonizing the pockets of the gums. But what happens when the cause of the problem is not deficient hygiene.


Why is it that some people develop gum disease despite having excellent home care?. What happens when you apply the cookie cutter approach and treat everyone with the traditional “deep cleaning” therapy?

The bone and gum that support the teeth serve as a shock absorption mechanism when chewing, biting and grinding our teeth.  Under  normal  circumstances,  these tissues  are able to tolerate the forces involved in such activities. The problem  arises  when  excessive,  sustained  forces  are  applied  to  this shock absorbing system. Under pressure, the small capillaries that nourish the bone and gums  collapse, creating a tourniquet effect and causing a continuous lack of oxygen in these tissues. Lack of oxygen produces  dead  cells  and  tissue breakdown. The defense system triggers a complex inflammatory process.

Your body reacts to this traumatic  event  in  the same way it does for any other traumatic injury. Killer cells travel to the site of the injury and start “eating” away the dead cells and tissue. The gum starts having the same appearance as gum disease, only in this case the culprit is not  bacteria  but  bite  trauma. The pressure associated with biting forces from unconscious grinding of the teeth is able to fracture tooth  structure,  dental  work and yes, even your own bone suffers micro-fractures. When bone fractures, your orthopedic surgeon, will either  cast it or place metal pins to hold the segments together while the bone fuses. In micro-fractures, we can’t place casts or screws. Our most effective way to immobilize the segments is by splinting the teeth with a rigid orthopedic  mouthpiece.  This  removable device will sit on the teeth during sleep which is the most common time of unconscious excessive pressure and  it  is  designed to redistribute the biting forces in a way that prevents pressure on the healing bone.

Some of the most commonly overlooked signs of bite trauma are, wear  facets,  enamel  vertical  stress  fracture lines, receding gums, exposed root surfaces, teeth mobility and teeth shifting, excess bone growth, joint noises, jaw muscle tenderness and headaches.

Our parents and grandparents  lost  their  teeth  to  this  once  obscure  cause.  You  don’t  have to. If you suspect  that  you  have  gum  disease,  or  if your treatment approach produces limited to no results, ask your dentist for an assessment of signs of bite trauma.


For a unique computerized bite assessment, call our Appointment Secretary at (626)810-5000