Tooth loss is a touchy subject, but it’s far more common than you may think, even in developed countries. Genetics, diet, medications, and certain conditions can increase your chance of experiencing tooth loss. For example, if you have diabetes, you have a higher risk for gums disease and tooth loss at an earlier age than others.
If you have missing teeth and are unsure what to do next, read on to see what our experts at Le Dentistry & Associates in Norcross, Georgia, say about how you can prevent tooth loss and how we treat it when it occurs.
1. Myth: Tooth loss is unavoidable as you age
Tooth loss becomes more likely as you age, but not inevitable. In addition to natural tissue deterioration, the effects of several factors accumulate as time passes. For example, the bacteria that cause plaque and lead to inflammation and tooth decay, feed on carbohydrates, so the more sweets, pasta, and bread you eat in your lifetime, the more vulnerable your teeth are to tooth loss.
Smoking and drinking alcohol can also harm your dental health by drying your mouth. If you don’t have enough saliva to wash bacteria they build up and cause damage over time.
However, brushing, flossing, regular checkups, anda healthy diet and lifestyle can stave off tooth loss as you age.
2. Myth: You can’t lose teeth if you don’t have cavities
Cavities are a major cause of tooth loss, but so is gum disease. Almost half of all American adults past the age of 30 suffer from gum disease.
Gum disease doesn’t always impact the appearance of teeth, and the symptoms sometimes take years to develop. You can have perfect-looking teeth and suffer from tooth loss if your gums are inflamed.
3. Myth: Tooth loss only impacts the aesthetics of your smile
The most obvious change after losing teeth is the aesthetic change, but tooth loss goes beyond having a gap in your smile.
Missing teeth can cause loss of bone density in the jaw because your tooth roots stimulate the jaw bone to keep producing bone tissue. Changes in your bone structure and strength can change the contours of your face and cause jaw pain.
4. Myth: There are no consequences for not replacing a tooth
Neighboring teeth quickly fill the gap left after a tooth goes missing; they shift to fill in the vacant space, causing misalignments in your smile. As the teeth move, their roots loosen, increasing the risk that they’ll fall out too.
5. Myth: Tooth replacements look and feel unnatural
Newer dental options — including dentures, bridges, and dental implants — come in customized shape and shades and fit you snugly, so they look and feel natural when you chew, speak, or smile. If you’re suffering from tooth loss, there are many ways you can restore the beauty of your smile and prevent other complications.
Contact us to schedule an appointment and find out what dental replacement options are best for your needs.