A little while back a patient came in whom we had been treating his kids for sometime. He had a loose tooth that was giving him some trouble. We took the tooth out and brought this gentleman back for a new patient exam to check all of his teeth. He had a number of loose teeth which we would have to remove and some teeth that we could save. The patient then said to me, "Dr., whatever you do I don't want you to clean my teeth. My teeth were fine but from the moment they started to be cleaned by a hygenist they started to move!"
Well where do I start. Of course this is nonsense. Teeth move because there is a loss of underlying support structure which is the bone and gums. The underlying bone is destroyed by toxins that come from bacteria sitting in pockets around the teeth. These pockets can be cleaned with the resultant loss of these toxins and the preservation of the tooth but if this cleaning is not done then there will be continual destruction of the tooth support with the tooth eventually starting to move and then falling out. This patient may have associated the movement of his teeth with his first cleaning but it is most likely that this cleaning was the first time he had really noticed what was going on in his mouth.
I can't drive it home any more clearly than the next example. This past week a gentleman, 65 years old came to the office. Believe it or not, this was the first time in his life he had been to a dental office. I didn't believe it so I asked him how he had lost four teeth on the bottom, assuming they had been extracted by a dentist. He told me that they started to move and then just fell out. I checked out the rest of his mouth and sure enough he had a lot of calculus (hard buildup on the teeth) and plaque everywhere. His upper front six teeth were extremely mobile and would have to be extracted. (If he would leave them a little longer they would fall out on their own.) I bring this example ( and I could bring many more) to show that this man never had his teeth cleaned by a dentist or hygenist and this is the result. Teeth do not move because of dental cleaning, they move because of the lack of professional cleaning. In other words when the build up and plaque is left on the teeth the underlying support structures will be destroyed, the teeth will start to move and eventually fall out.
I have to ad that the first gentleman did have all his upper teeth out and a complete upper denture made. The question is how long will the remaining lower teeth last without professional cleaning? The answer, not that long.