Tooth loss is a condition in which a person’s tooth may fall out whole. In an early age, this process is natural as a kid’s deciduous teeth, also commonly known as milk teeth, fall out and are replaced by adult teeth. However, tooth loss is a largely undesirable condition during adulthood, and is often the result of an underlying disease or injury. A missing tooth (or teeth), apart from reducing the aesthetic appeal of your smile, can result in many problems, hindering your ability to perform basic functions like speaking or eating. These problems worsen with time, as the remaining teeth shift to fill the gap created by the missing teeth, resulting into a crooked set of teeth which might call for immediate orthodontic care.
Below are some common causes of tooth loss which can help you care for your teeth better and avoid this unpleasant situation.
1. Poor Dental Hygiene:
This is not only the most common cause for a host of various dental and other medical problems, but also the easiest one to avoid. Simply brushing and flossing your teeth regularly can help in preventing from plague to build up, which leads to tooth decay, ultimately causing the tooth to fall out.
2. Tooth Decay:
The leading cause of tooth loss, this pathological condition is caused largely due to poor dental hygiene. As plaque builds up in the tooth, an infection can start around the crown of the tooth and slowly penetrate deeper into the tooth, affecting the dental pulp and even the root canal. Left untreated for long, the infection can adversely affect dental tissues, eventually causing the tooth to fall out.
3. Gum Diseases:
Improper oral care can cause plaque to build up around teeth and gums. When the gums around the teeth get infected, a painful condition called gingivitis results. Left untreated, the condition can worsen into periodontal disease, which afflicts gums and even the bones that hold the teeth, resulting into the tooth to become loose and eventually fall out.
4. Lifestyle Choices:
Sugary foods have always been a well-known culprit when it comes to tooth decay, but not many know that the high acidic content of certain foods and drinks also damages dental health. Sodas and alcohol contribute majorly to tooth decay due to their high acid and sugar content. Another lesser-known cause of tooth decay and gum diseases is smoking. Deficiency of calcium, or vitamins B2, B12 and D can also cause the teeth to loosen and fall out. Hence it is imperative to make wise lifestyle and diet choices to take the best possible care of your teeth.
5. Physical Injury:
Tooth loss can be caused by a strong physical blow to the jaw that may come from a variety of sources, from car accidents to sports injuries to clumsy mishaps. It is crucial to be careful at all times, and wear protective gear as and when needed.
6. Other Medical Conditions:
Several underlying medical conditions can lead to tooth loss. Hypodontia is a congenital disease where one or more teeth are absent, or in some cases, permanent teeth may fail to develop. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disorder that affects joints and many other systems of the body, and can be another cause of tooth loss. Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which a person’s bones become weak and brittle, thus prone to breaking. Caused by a lack of calcium and Vitamin D, osteoporosis is also often the reason behind tooth loss.
Fortunately due to advancements in orthodontics, a number of corrective treatments and procedures are available for tooth loss. Below are some options that can be opted for:
A popular option for cases where there are multiple teeth missing, dental bridges comprise of pontics (fake teeth) which can be placed in the gap with the support of pillar like structures placed on either ends of the gap.
2. Dental Implants:
A dental implant is a prosthetic device that can be inserted into the jaw surgically and looks and functions exactly like a natural tooth. Dental implants aid in functions like eating and speech while also providing comfort.
Dentures are a removable set of teeth replacements, and can be full or partial depending on the patient’s requirements. Needless to say, dentures are an easy option for persons with all their teeth missing.
Shen Chao is part of Dr. Joshua Hong’s Dental Clinic in Goodyear, AZ. While working for the dental clinic, he’s gained first hand experiences into the questions and concerns that dental patients have. He has been writing to inform people about various dental topics to help his readers improve their oral health. When he’s not working, you can find him on a hiking trail with his
dog or having a Sunday cook-out with friends.