Losing a tooth or any number of teeth can not only alter your smile but also affect the way you bite. A tooth loss can also lead to weak jawbones. While no one would like to lose their teeth, the sad reality is that quite many people lose some of their teeth due to several reasons. According to Harvard Health Publishing, a division of Harvard University, the average American loses 12 permanent teeth by the time they reach the age of 50.
But losing teeth should not worry you because developments in prosthetic dentistry have made it possible to fill any gap caused by tooth loss. In this article, you will learn about tooth loss, various factors that cause their damage, and three ways to replace missing teeth.
What is Tooth Loss?
Tooth loss, also referred to as edentulism, is a process in which teeth fall out or get extracted as a result of diseases such as gum disease or tooth decay or an injury such as mouth trauma. While tooth loss is common for deciduous teeth (the baby teeth which are eventually replaced by adult teeth), it is undesirable in adults.
Losing teeth due to a disease or an injury can cause several adverse consequences. In addition to affecting the way you bite, losing a tooth can also result in radical alterations in the bones that hold the teeth. Loss of several teeth can cause a reduction in the density of the jawbone as well as damage to the gum tissue. When this occurs, it may start to affect how you speak.
Causes of Tooth Loss
Eating food with a high acid level
Every time you eat, the level of acid in your mouth increases dramatically. After having a meal, it takes about one hour for the level of acid to return to a healthy balance. When the level of acid rises consistently due to frequently eating sweet foods, you become exposed to a notable risk of tooth decay.
Therefore, it is essential to limit the intake of sugary and acidic foods to an absolute minimum. Additionally, instead of consuming sweet snacks throughout the day, it is advisable to consume meals in scheduled sittings so that the level of acid only gets raised when you are having a meal.
Many sports activities are associated with incidents and accidents, such as collisions and being hit by an object. For example, a player can get hit by a cricket ball, or there can be a collision between two or more players on the pitch. Such incidents can easily knock out a tooth or several teeth or damage the teeth in such a way that they will have to get extracted.
Dental diseases such as tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontitis can cause damage to the gums. When the gums wear away or pull back from the teeth, the teeth’s roots become exposed, leading to an increased risk of tooth loss.
Grinding or clenching teeth causes the teeth’s enamel to wear away and also puts a strain on the gums, surrounding tissues, and the jawbone. Continued tooth grinding can cause teeth to become loose and ultimately fall out.
Smoking and poor oral habits
Smoking and poor oral habits such as failing to brush teeth and floss regularly lead to dental diseases such as cavities and periodontitis. Smoking increases the risk of conditions such as tooth discoloration, a buildup of plaque and tartar, loss of bones within the jaw, bad breath, and damage to the gums. Loss of gums and reduced jaw bone can lead to tooth loss.
Methods of Teeth Replacement
There are various methods of replacing missing teeth. You should talk to a dentist, and consider the following options:
Implants can be useful in restoring a tooth, several teeth, or hold a complete set of dentures. Implants are structures that get surgically inserted in the lower or upper jaw, where they function as an anchor for replacement teeth. They can be titanium (which makes them durable and lightweight) as well as other types of elements that are accepted by the human body.
Another option that you can consider for tooth replacement is the use of a fixed bridge. A bridge is a type of restoration that covers the space where one or several teeth have gotten lost. When inserting a bridge, the dentist bonds or cement the bridge in place.
Having a bridge inserted usually requires more than one visit to the dentist. When you make the first visit to the dentist, the dentist will prepare teeth on each side of the gap. The bridge later gets fixed on these teeth.
Before attaching the bridges, the dentist will take an impression of the teeth and the space to be filled and send the images to a dental lab. Technicians at the lab then make the required bridges out of materials such as ceramics, metal, grass-ceramics, or a combination of these materials. Later, it gets is cemented into place.
Removable partial dentures
As the name suggests, a removable partial denture can be removed from the mouth and cleaned. Partial dentures typically entail replacement teeth that get fixed on a plastic base matched with the color of the patient’s gums. A partial denture has some clasp that enables it to get fastened on the natural teeth. If you opt for partial dentures, the dentist may also recommend caps or crowns for natural teeth. The purpose of teeth crowns is to improve how partial dentures fit into your mouth.
Losing a tooth or more teeth through any occurrence should not be a hindrance to having a lovely smile and doing other activities such as biting, chewing, and talking. You can have your lost teeth replaced by a dentist using options such as implants, fixed bridges, and removable partial dentures. It is essential to talk to an experienced dentist, have your condition assessed, and consider a teeth replacement method that best fits your situation.