Riggs' Disease or Pyorrhea Dentalis.
Usually begins in early adult life.
Cause. It is caused by a specific germ (Endameba buccalis) which destroys the membrane surrounding the tooth.
Symptoms and Course. The germ (Endameba) cannot attack healthy tissue. The infection usually begins around the back teeth. Any wounding of the gums by toothpicks, hard particles of food, long continued pressure between the teeth are favorable conditions.
At first the gums may appear only swollen and reddened, or to extend up between the teeth. The gums bleed easily when picked or brushed. In time a loosening of the gums from the tooth will occur forming a pocket, which gets larger andedeeper until the whole root is bared. This pocket forms a suitable place for the decomposition of food and the formation of foul-smelling pus which collects around the teeth. The tooth then falls out.
Cure - These germs (Endamebas) can be destroyed by taking two tablets of 10 grains each of powdered Ipecac three times daily for from four to six consecutive days. The treatment should be repeated from time to time until all trace of the disease is gone, which may be several weeks or months. Rinse the mouth at night with one drop of the fluid extract of Ipecac in a wineglass of water. Proper dental treatment should also be invoked, consisting of cleaning and scaling the roots, removing dead and bare bone and cleaning out the available diseased pockets.
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