When someone from the under-10 set loses a tooth, it’s cause for great excitement, and a visit from the Tooth Fairy. When it comes to adult tooth loss, however, the situation isn’t nearly as lighthearted.
It might surprise you to learn that over half of Americans who are 20-64 years of age are missing one tooth or multiple teeth. Equally startling, 17% of adults 65 years of age and older have lost all of their teeth.
In this post, we’re going to look at what contributes to adult tooth loss, the problems that result from missing teeth, what you can do to prevent tooth loss, and the treatment options available if you do end up losing one or more teeth.
The caring and expert provider team at Expressions in Dentistry is dedicated to providing you with the best patient-centered dental treatment possible, whether you need a routine check-up, or a more specialized one, such as wisdom teeth removal, InvisalignⓇ teeth straightening, or a cosmetic procedure like veneers.
The practice’s approach to addressing a tooth gap you may have is customized to your needs, and your treatment choices are the most innovative available.
What contributes to tooth loss?
Many dental problems stem from decay and simply failing to practice good daily oral hygiene, and tooth loss is another one. You raise your chances of decay and cavities when you don’t brush twice a day and floss.
Lifestyle habits that lead to tooth loss include smoking and eating poorly. Tooth loss is also associated with a host of conditions, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease.
Another major cause of tooth loss is gum disease, which typically develops because of poor oral hygiene as well. It also occurs more with those who don’t visit the dentist regularly. The condition develops when sticky plaque accumulates on your teeth, which contains harmful bacteria.
Gingivitis is the mild form of the disease, but when it becomes advanced, it’s called periodontitis (when plaque moves below the gumline). As gum disease progresses, pockets between the gums and teeth develop, which leads to:
- Tooth decay
- Decay of the bone
- Gum recession
These things are what set you up for tooth loss. Taking care to brush and floss religiously, eating well, and avoiding smoking can help you avoid tooth loss.
You can lose a tooth through suffering a traumatic accident, which requires emergency dentistry. What we’re concentrating on now are solutions for tooth loss that isn’t caused by trauma.
The dangers of a missing tooth
If you lose a tooth, you may wonder, Couldn’t I just leave it alone (especially if your gap isn’t easily visible)? It’s actually important to get your missing tooth treated, since gaps can cause a range of problems:
- Chewing problems, like uneven jaw force
- Speech issues
- Bone loss
- Weakened jaw muscles
- Facial asymmetry
- Lower self-esteem
Once you have lost one tooth, you’re at higher risk for losing another, as well as for cavities and tooth shifting.
What are my treatment options if I’ve lost a tooth?
There are several treatment options for missing teeth, including removable partial dentures, or a bridge, which is a permanently placed set of artificial teeth that are connected to a bracket. The bracket, or bridge, is cemented to your own teeth or a dental implant or crown.
The Expressions in Dentistry team has especially embraced treating missing teeth with dental implants, which offer patients many advantages. A dental implant is a small titanium screw-like component that acts as your tooth’s root. It is then topped with a crown that looks just like your natural tooth.
Your dentist places your implant during a minor surgery, and then over several months, it actually fuses with your jawbone, forming a strong support structure for dentures, a bridge, or a crown, which is a tooth-shaped cap that sits on the implant.
Our team can even give you something called an All-on-4Ⓡ implant, which replaces a whole arch (the upper and lower parts of your mouth that your teeth grow from) — and you can have this done her in only a day!
We have treated many patients who are delighted with the comfort and natural look of their implants. This is also a long-lasting option that requires no special maintenance, other than your usual bruising and flossing. Your implant can last the rest of your life, while a crown may need to be replaced in 10-15 years.
We’re proud to offer dental implants as an excellent choice when compared to ClearChoiceⓇ dental implant centers.
Call our office at 916-983-6767 to schedule a consultation and find out if you’re a candidate for dental implants, or book one online. For your convenience, we offer early morning and after-5pm appointments Monday through Thursday, and we’re open Saturdays.