Your teeth falling out is a common nightmare for many people, and the scary feeling sometimes lingers long after you wake up. A common question we get from patients at All Smiles Care is, “How common is tooth loss?” According to the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP), about 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. Another 40 million are missing all of their teeth.
A lost tooth isn’t only bad for your pearly white smile; it’s terrible for your overall oral health. Losing a tooth can negatively affect your eating habits, speech, and appearance.
What causes the loss of back teeth?
To prevent tooth loss, it’s crucial to maintain a good oral health routine and visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. There are a variety of reasons for teeth to fall out. The top causes of tooth loss include:
Let’s face it — accidents happen. Sometimes the issue can occur when you least expect it. Athletes are the most “at risk” of losing a tooth this way due to contact sports or similar hobbies.
Infections, like gum disease, can cause damage to the soft tissue. The problem arises when bacteria in your mouth produce toxins that can irritate gum tissue. Without treatment, the issue will progress and potentially destroy the bone supporting your teeth, causing it to loosen and later lead to loss. It could be an early sign of gum disease if your gums are swollen or bleed every time you brush your teeth. Advanced gum disease is when tooth loss typically occurs.
A cavity is a hole in the tooth that develops from tooth decay. If a cavity goes untreated, it can get bigger and cause damage to deeper layers of your teeth. The irritation can lead to severe toothache and tooth loss.
Why is dental tooth replacement important?
A tooth should be replaced as soon as it has been lost or extracted. Replacing missing teeth improves your quality of life. It cannot only ease pain and discomfort but also alleviate challenges in eating and speaking and maintain the best looks of the smile and overall health of the jaw bone.
It can be challenging to chew, especially tough and crispy foods like nuts or apples, without all your teeth. The food you eat can enter the empty space and scratch up the gums, irritating them.
Teeth are essential for talking and eating, but they also help your face keep its shape. Most people think missing teeth aren’t a big deal — think again! Just because they may not be easily seen doesn’t mean it’s not affecting you. Missing teeth can also affect your appearance. As your teeth start to move, so will the shape and alignment of your jawline.
What options are available for missing back teeth replacement?
Luckily, teeth are replaceable! The following are three options for missing teeth that your dentist may recommend, depending on your situation and needs.
One option for tooth replacement is dental implants. A dental implant is an artificial tooth frame placed into your jaw to hold the prosthetic. Because it is fixed into your jawbone, it functions more like a natural tooth. Implants can be used to replace a single tooth, they can replace multiple teeth to hold a fixed bridge, or they can be used to secure removable or partial dentures. Generally, the lifespan of an implant is roughly 25 years.
Another tooth replacement option is a dental bridge. This is a more viable option if those adjacent teeth around the missing tooth already need crowns. A bridge is two crowns with a false tooth called a Pontic. The tooth rests on the gum tissue and replaces the missing tooth by bridging the gap — hence the name. The bridge can be anywhere between five to seven years. However, this tooth replacement can last more than ten years with excellent oral care and regular professional cleanings.
A partial denture helps replace several teeth in a row but can’t line the entire upper or lower jaw like a complete denture set does. To qualify for partial dentures, you need some healthy teeth, otherwise, the denture won’t get the support it requires. Typically, the maximum longevity of partial dentures is 15 years.
Get in touch with All Smiles Care to find out your options for missing teeth repair
If you’re missing a tooth or numerous teeth, our team at All Smiles Care can help you smile like you never even lost one! Our team is always dedicated to making every effort to resolve dental problems compassionately and, most importantly, according to your individual needs. Schedule your next visit with your premier Westminster, MD dentist today — because you truly do matter to us.