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Periodontal Disease - Story and Question



Junior member
May 8, 2024
Cleveland, OH
Good afternoon!

I wanted to get your opinion on my situtation. I am going to be seeing a periodontist soon, but I've had a lot of anxiety recently over the unknowns and wanted to lay everything out.

This is a pretty embarrassing story for me, but back in 2016-2017 when I was around 19-20, I was struggling with an eating disorder while in college, and as a result I was trying to restrict calories. Instead of using sugar in my coffee, I started using Splenda. I would use 7-8 packets in each cup, and drink 7-8 cups a day, in addition to Splenda I was using in food such as oatmeal. I did this for a while, maybe 3-5 months. I noticed that there was a huge white buildup on some of my teeth (which I now believe to have been plaque). This plaque stayed on my teeth for at least 8-9 months before it eventually cracked off. During this time, I also started to experience lots of bleeding in my mouth when I brushed. To make matters worse, I would often brush my teeth and then drink coffee with Splenda after, and go to bed without brushing my teeth again, leaving the Splenda on my teeth overnight. Eventually I went to the dentist and had a routine cleaning. Shortly after my cleaning, I noticed that one of my teeth had become sensitive to hot/cold. This alarmed me because I never experienced any pain in my teeth before. No dentist was able to identify the problem and x-rays came back looking OK. To this day I still experience in that tooth, even when I'm not eating or drinking anything. During this time, I went to see a periodontist due to my bleeding gums and they said I had periodontal disease. I went through the scaling, rooting, and planning procedure and was put on maintenance cleanings. I did the maintenance cleanings for about a year, and then I stopped going, believing I didn't need them (which I realize was a mistake). A couple years ago, out of concern, I did get a periodontal maintenance cleaning, but just once and then I stopped going again.

I also wanted to mention, another one of my teeth, on the opposite side of my mouth, began experiencing sensitivity to cold/hot in 2021, and even when I'm not eating/drinking. So now two of my teeth have this issue. The teeth with sensitivty I believe these are my First Molars in my jaw. The pain I feel when I eat something hot/cold is almost as it the pain moves from the bottom to the top of the tooth, like a twinge of pain. And other times it's more just a soreness.

Fast forward to December 2023, I noticed that my gums bleed randomly when I floss, and especially one area in particular. I went for a routine cleaning at my general dentist, and shortly after, I started experienced a lot of bleeding in one particular area when I flossed, and even randomly. I would open my mouth and the area would just be bleeding. The gum has also caved in a bit and seems to be permanently damaged since it has been this way for months. I did go to a dentist because my gum would not stop bleeding and they prescribed me Chlorhexidine and that calmed the bleeding down, though I still get blood in that area when I floss, and there is soreness/pain in the gums in that area. I'm also experiencing other symptoms - my breathe smells horrible, I feel some mobility in my teeth when I brush my tongue up against them (in the area where the bleeding was happening, I can hear a clicking noise when I push on the teeth with my tongue), when I eat it kind of feels like there is pressure in my gums and the food is getting in there, I've noticed black spaces forming between my teeth, my gums have receded rapidly over the past 5-7 years, and of course those 2 teeth in my jaw hurt (including the gums around them)

I guess I just wanted to get all of this off my chest. I'm nervous about what could be going on. I'm wondering if my tooth pain is the result of gum disease. All of these isuses began when I started eating large amounts of Splenda back in 2016-2017, and I'm wondering if the SRP procedure that was done was even done properly (it only took about 45 minutes). I think it's also worth noting I grind my teeth and wear my mouthguard. I've attached a picture of my receding gums below. It also appears that the gum is slowly deteriorating from one side of my tooth.

I'm hoping this new periodontist will allow me to get a SRP and this will help with the issues, and then I will make sure to go for cleanings every 3 months.

I know nobody can diagnose me online, but any guidance would be greatly appreciated.


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Hi there @ehlersjerry 👋 ,

Splenda (sucralose) does not contain any sugars, and there is no evidence that it's harmful to your oral health. What can make it harmful is its use as a sweetener in acidic drinks, which may cause acid erosion over time, but that wouldn't really affect your gum health. Still, it's probably not the best sweetener to use if you have a choice - I came across some research recently which linked Sucralose to inflammatory bowel diseases in some people. But it's unlikely you would have harmed yourself using Splenda, so don't beat yourself up over it! It could just be that you're genetically more predisposed towards gum inflammation.

I'm not sure about the US, but in the UK and Europe, floss is not regarded as suitable for controlling existing periodontal disease - instead, people are encouraged to use Tepe brushes (there are some explanations as to why they work better on this page: https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/faq/gum-disease/ ). Maybe you could ask your dentist or periodontist about this when you're seeing them. For some reason, it hasn't caught on to the same extent across the pond - I have no idea why!

I don't think anyone will be able to figure out remotely (without having an actual look) what is causing your tooth pain, so it will be interesting to see what your new periodontist says. When are you seeing them?

Wishing you all the best - here's hoping that your new periodontist is a keeper 🤞