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Dentist found <15% bone loss in my lower front teeth, trying not to panic but I am.



Junior member
May 24, 2024
Fort Worth
I am 30, currently pregnant with my third child. I received benefits for dental care through my insurance and decided to take advantage, since the last time I have been was when I was 10. The first dentist I went to performed a filling on a tooth he was confident he could save but 2 weeks after the filling I started to have severe sensitivity to cold and hot food/drink. He did x-rays that shows the filling is touching the nerve, he basically told me I need a root canal now, these things happen and there isn't anything he can do since the office refers out for root canals. Now I am in constant pain because of this too. I have filed a complaint with the state, because of this issue I went to another dentist for an estimate and confirmation of a root canal, which I do in fact need. The x-rays they did showed <15% bone loss in my lower four front teeth but mostly concentrated to in between my two bottom front teeth. The hygienists told me it's possible that it's due to how my teeth are position and due to the misalignment of my teeth. My top and bottom teeth do not touch when my mouth is fully closed, there is a significant gap, (I am not sure what this is called) I also have a significant underbite as well, this makes it hard for me to properly bite down onto food with my front teeth, so I often eat from the side. Otherwise I am not able to cleanly bite through foods. It became more severe when my wisdom teeth fully came in and when I bite down my wisdom teeth actually hit first. I have very minimal bone loss to my other teeth, this is the only area that has this much bone loss. The hygienists said it was not bad considering it had been 20 years since I went to the dentist. Because I am only 3O, it is making me really worried about the integrity and longevity of these teeth. I do need a cleaning on the right side of my mouth but the build up is not severe. I had to start using sensodyne products to help with the sensitivity and also started to brush twice a day. Those bottom teeth aren't loose either but I am worried about losing my teeth especially at such a young age.


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@Beamarie Hi. I am not a dentist but I just wanted to say you have my support and that I understand what you are going through I have known that I have inflammation in my gums for ten years now and its always made me very self conscious and anxious. I am 40 years old and two weeks ago, I was told by the dentist that I also have some bone loss. I was too upset and anxious to ask how much bone loss there was and where it was. He x rayed my back teeth and gums so I think the bone loss is there. I have another appointment for a deep cleaning next thursday and I am very anxious about it, even though I have had deep cleanings before. I have been using a water flosser and an electric toothbrush for a long time and recently started using interdental brushes and chewing sugar free gum so I hope there is an improvement in my gums by doing this. I will ask the dentist then where the bone loss is and how much there is and I have written down questions and my worries, even though I am terrified of finding out the diagnosis. I hope the dentists on here can help you and I hope my post is helpful to you.
I'm not sure what the question was? The bone loss doesn't look too bad at the moment, if you get on top of the plaque control then you don't really need to worry about it.
That area of your mouth is more likely to have gum disease because the lower lip attachment gets in the way a bit when you're cleaning it, you need to use 2 hands, one to brush, one to move your bottom lip out of the way so you can see what you're doing. It's not really anything to do with your malocclusion.
@Beamarie Well, from my point of view, 15% bone loss doesn't sound so bad. I was just calmly living my life with my functional teeth when a routine x-ray showed that I have from 30-90% bone loss around every tooth. And even then, none of my teeth are loose. I bought one of those red light things that you put in your mouth and it supposedly stimulates bone and gum regeneration. I also bought a water pick and the new nano-hydroxyappetite tooth paste, which is supposed to strengthen teeth. Because I was told my teeth might start falling out at any minute, I opted for the LANAP laser treatment, and I am recovering from that. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. But I think if you take really good care of your teeth, preserve your oral microbiome, don't use strong mouthwashes (they mess up the microbiome), and use a water pick, you'll probably end up in much better shape than I am at my age (73). Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy. It's a special time in life.
@Gordon Apoligies for not being 100% clear, I was looking more for an opinion not necessarily an answer to a question. My statement was geared towards the fact that I am concerned about losing these teeth even with steps to help prevent it. The hygienists said initially it was hard to tell if the bone loss was due solely to bacteria, that the misalignment and position in addition to the gingivitis/early stage periodontal disease (which is where she said I am.) could also play a role in it. She explained it as not using those teeth the bone loses density. I am not a dentist and this is the third dentist I have been to, yet the first to notify me of this issue. Being pregnant I don't want to seek out a fourth opinion on the matter, I just happened to stumble across this forum where I figured there'd be additional insight. Other than the obvious of keeping that area clean, brushing twice a day, flossing, making sure I have a healthy diet and getting plenty of calcium.

Is there anything more I can do to help prevent additional bone loss?

Should I try to use those teeth more instead of avoiding using them?

Anything else you recommend based on the information I provided to you? I know you can't see the issue so it's hard to really say.

Thank you very much for your response and time Gordon!
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@Mboone50 Thank you so much for you reply! I am so sorry to hear about the bone loss you have. It is a really scary thing to be told. It sounds like you are taking great steps to help prevent additional bone loss and losing your teeth! I have not tried a water pick, I honestly have been scared to use one, are they aggressive? I usually floss by hand by using floss picks but if a water pick will help better I am all for it. The tooth paste you are talking about, can you just find it at Walmart? Was the red light something you had to order online? Also have you noticed any differences since using these products yet? The laser treatment also sounds like a good idea please let me know how that helps as time goes on, I definitely may look into it myself! It is so nice to know I'm not alone and that there are some things I can do to help. Thank you, I am 34 weeks and so far so good! It is a really special time and despite everything going on I am trying to enjoy it!😊 Thank you so much for your response it has helped me feel so much better about the situation. Good luck with your teeth, I hope it all starts to improve for you!
@anonfemale Thank you so much for sharing your support and experience. I am so sorry it brings you so much anxiety, it all brings me anxiety too, especially given the experience I had with the first dentist! It's so scary being told you have bone loss, it made me feel like my teeth were going to fall out eventually no matter what. When they told you about the bone loss did they seem concerned? My hygienists didn't seem overly concerned about the bone loss I have which kind of made me not panic as badly, it did make me feel really depressed though. I have heard good things about water flossers and I am thinking I do need to give one a shot. They scare me kind of because I imagine them being really aggressive. I hope when you go back to the dentist it is helpful and you get all of your questions and worries addressed! I should have asked questions but I had tunnel vision at the time and was spiraling with upset I just couldn't even think about any questions. I am hoping that your bone loss isn't severe!🙏💕
@Beamarie I admit, I was freaking out at first, because three different periodontists told me the same thing, that saving my teeth was somewhere between "doubtful" and "hopeless," and I'd go home and be afraid to chew for a few days. But honestly, they're still in my mouth, and they still function as teeth. Don't be afraid of the water pick. You start out at a low intensity, but after a few weeks, you can set it on the "fire hose" strength, and your gums won't hurt at all. That's the only treatment where I have definitely noticed an improvement, how much firmer my gums feel. Those special toothpastes are available on Amazon. Boka is one brand. It has to be nano-hydroxyapatite, because the nano size helps the calcium go into the teeth (according to the theory anyway) and remineralize. The red light thing is expensive, but I got it online. It is supposed to stimulate new bone and gum cells. I don't think you would need the laser treatment at this point. It's very expensive and still a new technology. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy! Not much longer!
I've found the British Society of Periodontology's website to have good information on what works keep existing gum disease in check. They've produced a handy leaflet with top tips for healthier gums which is well worth a read (see attached PDF).

From memory, the general consensus is to:

• brush thoroughly twice a day
• use interdental brushes thoroughly once a day (using floss where the spaces between teeth are too narrow, which can be the case when there is no periodontal disease)

The European Federation of Peridontology says it's fine to use things like waterpiks or other interdental cleaning devices in addition to the interdental brushes, if you have trouble using them. They're not as effective though. They also seem to now recommend antiseptic mouthwash after brushing for people with existing periodontal disease? But I'd have to read it in more detail to be sure

Their other key recommendations for anyone with periodontal disease are

• to have regular cleanings above and below the gum line
• to stop smoking if at all possible, and
• to make sure diabetes is well controlled.

I haven't heard about the red light thing before, perhaps @Gordon may be able to shed some light on this (pun intended :p)


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I've been reading a lot about the oral microbiome and how you need to achieve a balance between good and bad bacteria. If you constantly gargle with a strong antibiotic mouthwash, according to the theory, then you kill the good bacteria, too, and that means the bad bacteria don't have any good ones to keep them in check when they bounce back. Maybe that's just someone's private theory, but I stopped using the six types of mouthwash I used to use and now just gargle with a solution of xylitol and water, which is supposed to affect the bad bacteria but not the good ones. The red light thing is call Novaa (https://novaalab.com/products/red-b...eQmPKR8HXi5gojXbNH0w7pi5VO_iEfFBoCcfgQAvD_BwE). Who knows if it works? It's just that I was told that I was one tiny step away from hopeless, and I really like my teeth, so I was willing to try anything.
@Mboone50 That makes so much sense! I have been using sensodyne products because of the issue with the filling touching the nerve and causing severe sensitivity and pain. Would sensodyne be considered harsh in your opinion? It doesn't seem to be antibiotic just chock full of fluoride but still I am not sure. Do you mix the xylitol and water together with a ratio? Or use the xylitol then rinse with water? I apologize I am so new to all of this and have so many questions. I was in the oral hygene aisle at Walmart the other day for an hour looking at over everything and it was a tad overwhelming. I last saw the dentist (before now) when I was 10 and have tried to care for my mouth, albeit not the best at times, but for the most part have tried to keep it fairly clean especially the last few years. I am willing to try all the things to help too, I enjoy my teeth and wanna keep them as long as possible.
I just mix up the xylitol in some water; it's a sugar so it doesn't need to be mixed in some precise formula. According to the theories, the bacteria eat it, thinking it's the real stuff, but they can't metabolize it, so they die. Also, gargling with food-grade hydrogen peroxide now and then will kill bacteria that live under the gums. In that case, you need to mix it with 50% water and only use it once a week. I watch the videos of Dr. Mark Burhenne, who seems legitimate, although maybe he's considered a nut. Who knows? The thing about all the videos and advice is that it seems like teeth are these fragile things who have to catered to 24/7. For example, if you eat an orange or an acidic food, supposedly your enamel starts dissolving immediately, so you're supposed to rinse with water right away but wait for 30 minutes before brushing because your saliva zooms in to remineralize the teeth first, and you're not supposed to disturb this. Who lives like this? And Dr. Burhenne, while having good ideas, recommends sleeping with your mouth actually taped shut with medical tape so you can't breathe out of your mouth and dry out your saliva, which is supposed to be healing your teeth all night. When you listen to these videos, you wonder how anyone has any teeth left. But he does have good advice overall.
@Beamarie I am on medication for my anxiety and I will start having therapy soon. I have autism as well so I think that's why I over think things and I am always thinking about what I am eating and drinking too and I think about my gums more when I am eating and drinking and when I am brushing and flossing and when I look in the mirror. A lot of times I have just brushed and flossed in the mornings and not brushed and flossed at night because I have either been too tired or too depressed so I am anxious about when I didn't do it at night and just hope my gums haven't gotten worse. I will try to do them at night when I can. I feel very anxious every day because of how my gums are. My teeth have been fine for a long time but I feel self conscious about how small they are. I have no holes in my teeth and no loose teeth and haven't needed fillings and extractions since I was in my 20's. I have only ever had three fillings and two extractions since I became an adult. It's just I have had the inflammation for ten years and now the diagnosis of the bone loss. It made me feel like my teeth were going to fall out too when the dentist mentioned the bone loss. The good thing is that I asked the dentist Gordon on here whether people definitely lose their teeth if they have bone loss and he said no. That's reassuring. Gordon also said that it takes decades to get any meaningful bone loss which makes me feel better in a way but I also don't want my mouth to get worse when I get older. The dentist I saw said that he wasn't concerned about my bone loss but I also still feel depressed about it. I have seen three different dentists and two different hygienists at the surgery I go to over the years and none of the other dentists and hygienists said that I had any bone loss. They just mentioned the inflammation. The confusing thing is before I saw those dentists and hygienists, I saw a dentist at another surgery five years ago and she also said I had bone loss. It causes so much anxiety when different dentists say different things. I'm so glad that the dentist you saw wasn't concerned. That sounds reassuring. I know it's difficult not to feel depressed or anxious about it though.i just try to take my mind off it as much as I can. I read , watch tv, go for walks, listen to music and go to the gym. Sometimes I feel like I don't want to leave the house though. I have been using a water pik flosser an an electric toothbrush for years and recently started using interdental brushes. The good thing is that my gums didn't bleed at all when I brushed and flossed yesterday morning. I was too anxious and upset to ask how much inflammation and bone loss I gave at my last appointment but I will ask that at my next appointment next Thursday. It might help if you use the interdental brushes as well as the water pik flosser too. Do you use an electric toothbrush,. I am going to take my interdental brushes and maybe my toothbrush with me to my next appointment and show the dentist how I use them and see if I am using them the right way. Maybe you could do that too when you have another appointment?. I also heard that chewing sugar free gum that has xylitol in it three to four times a day helps to remove plaque so I will try that and I am also going to use disclosing tablets every now and then to see where the plaque is. Maybe this will be helpful for you too?. Thank you. I hope my bone loss isn't severe too.
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Is there anything more I can do to help prevent additional bone loss?
I think that's been well enough covered now? Pregnancy hormones can cause some periodontal issues so having the baby will help :)

Should I try to use those teeth more instead of avoiding using them?
TBH I think that's not an issue.

Anything else you recommend based on the information I provided to you? I know you can't see the issue so it's hard to really say.
At this early stage, just keep on top of your plaque control and you should be fine. Easier said than done with a new born coming :)
Would sensodyne be considered harsh in your opinion?
Almost all toothpastes are the same. Sensodyne has some extra Strontium ions in it which help to reduce sensitivity. If you've got sensitivity to cold/sweet due to gum recession then it can work well.
Otherwise pick the one you like the taste of best. So long as it has Fluoride then it honestly doesn't matter.
For example, if you eat an orange or an acidic food, supposedly your enamel starts dissolving immediately, so you're supposed to rinse with water right away but wait for 30 minutes before brushing because your saliva zooms in to remineralize the teeth first, and you're not supposed to disturb this. Who lives like this?
Oh dear. This will take a whole essay to deal with and I don't have time or inclination to do it right now. Let's just say it's kind of but not quite right...

And Dr. Burhenne, while having good ideas, recommends sleeping with your mouth actually taped shut with medical tape so you can't breathe out of your mouth and dry out your saliva, which is supposed to be healing your teeth all night.
That would lead right into nut territory for me sorry!
@Beamarie I use sendodyne sensitivity and gum toothpaste. I use the mint flavour. I also always wait for 30 minutes after meals before I brush and floss my teeth.
@Gordon Thank you for all your insights into the subject of bone loss. As I've mentioned, I was told by four different periodontists that saving my teeth was just about hopeless, so I should simply have them pulled out, or maybe . . . just maybe the LANAP laser procedure might buy me some time. I opted for the laser procedure, because my teeth worked just fine, my gums didn't bleed, and I was living a normal life, even though all of those periodontists made me feel like I was some deadbeat and this was my fault, and inside my gums there were legions of evil bacteria munching away at my bones. It has been seven weeks since the laser procedure, my teeth are just now getting back to functioning as teeth (they loosen up during the procedure and take a while to firm up again), but they are still in my mouth.
@anonfemale I have a 36-year-old son with autism, and we talk continuously about his teeth because brushing them causes him acute distress. (He feels like he is having a seizure from the dual motion of his hand moving the brush back and forth and the movement it causes to his head.) He allows me to brush his teeth about once a week, then he goes to his sympathetic dentist once a month for a cleaning, and that's about all his can tolerate. You sound like you're doing a great job, and you should not worry about your gums and teeth so much. I know this is a lot easier to say than to do. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am 73 and I have 30-90% bone loss, but my teeth are still in my mouth. And also, if human teeth were so fragile, so that missing a single brushing at night caused damage, how could anyone have any teeth left? Just the simple act of rinsing with water after you eat is helpful if you can't do anything else at that time. And you can always chew xylitol gum or eat a xylitol mint, which is supposed to fool the bad bacteria because they think it's sugar but they can't metabolize it.
Dr Burhenne is most definitely on the quacky side, despite his website looking legitimate. I don’t think there are many dentists or academics who would agree with his ideas (which coincidentally seem to be designed to sell his own products, which appears to be commonly the case with alternative medicine…)
@Mboone50 Thank you for your lovely post. It's helpful knowing that there are other people who are going through the same thing as I am on this forum and that we can all support each other. I also talk continuously to my mum about my teeth and gums and about brushing and flossing them. My mum is also going to call me every night to encourage me to brush and floss them at night. I brush and floss them every morning but I seem to get too tired, too depressed or too distracted with music or with watching tv at night ( I know that people who have autism can get distracted with their special interests). I'm sorry to hear that your son feels distressed when he brushes his teeth. I also feel distressed when I am over thinking about whether I am brushing and flossing the right way and because I have dexterity problems, I am not sure if I hold the toothbrush, interdental brushes and water pik the right way. It's very kind of you to brush your son's teeth and it's good that he has a sympathetic dentist. I hope your son will be able to have his teeth brushed more often when he can. Thank you. I am trying my best with the brushing and flossing and with my diet. I am hoping that the new dose of medication I have recently been put on and the therapy I will have soon will help me to stop worrying about my teeth and gums and my autism so much. It's good to hear that your teeth are still in your mouth even though you have bone loss and I agree with what you said that missing a single brushing at night shouldn't cause any damage. I will rinse with water after meals ( a dentist I saw recommended that I should leave the toothpaste in my mouth without rinsing after brushing because the fluoride would make my teeth and gums stronger . I could rinse with water after meals though) and I will also chew the sugar free gum with xylitol about three times to four times a day after meals and before going to bed. The dentist Gordon on this forum said that it's a good sign that my gums didn't bleed at all yesterday and this morning, there was only bleeding around one of my back teeth. I struggle getting the interdental brush near that back tooth from the outside space so I put the interdental brush through the inside space instead.