Tooth loss can mean something different to everyone. For those who still retain all of their teeth, it may seem like an obscure concept. For those who’ve lost a single tooth, it may seem important to replace them, but not so much an emergency.
Yet, for those who have lost a significant amount of teeth, the loss can prove devastating to their oral health, as well as their smile’s appearance and self-confidence. Fortunately, you have many options for replacing lost teeth, but your best bet at protecting your smile lies in understanding and possibly preventing the common causes of tooth loss.
Why Teeth Go Missing
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is the leading cause of adults tooth loss, but not because it attacks your teeth directly. On the contrary, gum disease works by slowly degrading the tissues and jawbone structure that surround and support the roots of your teeth. In severe cases, the disease can leave teeth without enough to support, and patients often experience single or multiple tooth loss by the time they seek gum disease treatment.
Because of the toothaches they cause, cavities are usually caught and treated early enough to preserve the tooth, preferably with a tooth-colored filling. Even severe cases of tooth decay can often be addressed with root canal treatment to prevent the loss of the tooth. However, sometimes, tooth decay can infect enough of a tooth’s structure and inner tissues that saving it is no longer possible. If the tooth does not fall out on its own, then it may need to be extracted to save the rest of your oral health.
Wisdom Tooth Impaction
Not all cases of tooth loss or extraction are preventable. Wisdom teeth, for instance, can grow impacted by other teeth through no fault of your own. When they do, the obstruction can cause a great deal of dental discomfort, and may cause damage to one or more teeth if the wisdom teeth are not extracted.