As children, we end up losing majority of our teeth (besides molars) at some point – although new, ‘permanent’ teeth always replaced the holes they left behind. However, if you lose an adult tooth, the circumstances are quite different. There are three leading causes behind tooth loss; advanced periodontitis (gum disease), severe tooth decay, and facial injury. In decades past, many people went without replacing their lost teeth – no matter the cause. But, you don’t only lose functional abilities (like speaking, biting, or chewing) when you lose teeth, it completely endangers your oral health, risking your teeth, soft tissue, and even jawbone.
Although preventable, it’s not as easy as it sounds – many people suffer from gum disease in one form or another. The infection itself can actually be reversed when caught in its early stages of gingivitis. However, whether they notice the infection or not – many people opt to wait until it progresses to seek professional help. In it’s most severe stages, periodontitis removes a lot of the supporting gum tissue from your teeth, often causing them to become loose and fall out.
Tooth decay forms when normal bacteria around your mouth come in contact with sugars – excess consumption of unhealthy sugars (and starches) increases your risk for cavities. When cavities are left untreated, the infection spreads to the inner pulp of your tooth – affecting the nerve and eventually leading to an abscess. Your dentist may recommend extraction to keep the infection from spreading to surrounding healthy teeth.
Injuries and traumas are often accidents, making them impossible to prevent. Unfortunately, when they occur around the face, it endangers your teeth and can result in losing one (or several) depending on the situation.
Rest assured, a tooth lost is not gone forever! If you’ve lost a tooth (or multiple teeth), your dentist can help you to find the best restoration option for you.