It’s natural to lose baby teeth as a child, but there may be instances where you can lose adult teeth as well.
Studies reveal that tooth loss is common: adults in the age bracket of 20-64 years have an average of 24.9 remaining teeth while almost 3.75% of adults in the same age group have no teeth remaining.
What causes tooth loss, what are its consequences and how can it be treated – find all the answers here.
What Causes Tooth Loss
Poor oral hygiene: Irregular brushing and flossing will breed germs, leading to cavities and gum diseases by the accumulation of plaque and demineralization of the tooth enamel. This leads to the weakening of gums and eventual loss of teeth.
Poor nutrition: A diet rich in carbohydrates, sugar, and acid greatly damages your teeth, and can lead to tooth erosion. Likewise, lack of calcium rich diet can alter the mineral density of teeth and affects tooth retention, thus increasing the risk of tooth loss.
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Damaging habits: Grinding the teeth slowly uses them up and makes them shorter over the years. Chewing tobacco, drinking and smoking are also responsible for aggravating gum disease, and can lead to tooth loss. Smoking interferes with the blood supply to the gums, thus worsening periodontal diseases.
Contact sports: There is a high risk of trauma to the teeth in contact sports such as football, wrestling, martial arts, basketball etc. It is important to wear a mouth guard to prevent injuries like a fracture, chipping or loss of a tooth.
Not replacing lost teeth: When you lose a tooth, its neighboring teeth will try to fill up the gap. This results in crooked and weakened teeth. By ignoring tooth replacement, you risk losing more teeth.
Irregular dental check-ups: Regular check-ups help in detecting underlying oral problems. If you are irregular with check-ups, you put yourself at a risk of breeding diseases that may result in their loss.
Fear: When you have a toothache, of any intensity, don’t let the fear of going to a dentist keep you from getting the required medical attention. The problem may aggravate, with a possibility of losing the tooth.
Consequences of Tooth Loss
You may overlook periodontal problems for various reasons. However, it leads to consequences that range from health issues to social and personal self-esteem problems, including:
- Self-consciousness and anxiety to smile or talk freely in order to hide the missing teeth
- Altering your diet by not eating particular foods due to chewing problems, thus affecting your health since you miss out on important nutrients.
- Missing teeth impair speech since the tongue doesn’t get support your teeth while speaking
- Even one missing tooth weakens its neighboring teeth, thus putting your dental health at risk.
- Missing teeth result in loss of bone and gum tissue, which can drastically affect facial features.
What Are The Treatment Options
There are various tooth replacement options that you can opt for:
Dental Implants: These are artificial tooth roots that are attached to the jaw through surgery to secure a replacement tooth, denture or bridge. They look like natural teeth and are extremely strong.
Partial or complete dentures: These are a removable replacement for missing teeth. They prevent teeth from shifting from their position and support the adjoining natural teeth. Complete dentures are recommended over partial ones.
Single tooth replacements: This is a replacement option for one missing tooth, by putting in one implant and one crown.
Multiple tooth replacement: When multiple teeth are missing, they can be replaced with multiple implants that are supported with fixed bridgework.
Combinations of fixed and removable bridgework: All necessary implants support a section of fixed bridgework. A removable section is attached to the fixed bridgework.
Anchorage for tooth movement: Anchorage is a temporary tooth replacement where the temporary implants act as stable anchor units to different orthodontic devices. This allows quicker and easier tooth movement.
Temporary bridgework: This is where micro-mini implants are used to support bridgework temporarily as the permanent implants heal. At no point of time, a person will be without teeth.
If you have a tooth or two missing, get it fixed today. Take care of those pearly whites and maintain a beautiful smile.