- We all lose our baby teeth as children. But it’s tooth loss as an adult that you want to avoid.
- Missing teeth can lead to problems with dental and general health.
- There are options to replace lost teeth, such as dentures and implants.
If you’re under the age of 12, it’s completely natural to have your baby teeth fall out to make room for permanent teeth. But thanks to advances is nutrition, medicine and technology, you should be able to keep your natural teeth throughout your lifetime. The catch is, you have to take good care of them!
Causes of tooth loss
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Injury or trauma
- Autoimmune diseases
If you are undergoing radiation or chemotherapy, one of the side effects may be a premature loss of teeth. As well, infections can result in damage to adult teeth or their early loss. Some people have missing teeth because they never developed.
Signs of tooth loss
See your dentist if you notice:
- Enamel wear and change in tooth colour, like white spots that start to turn brown.
- Pain in the area, ranging from mild to severe.
- A bad taste or bad smell in your mouth.
- Signs of infection in the gums like swelling.
Missing teeth can result in a loss of self-confidence and lower self-esteem. If you have several missing teeth and difficulty chewing, this could lead to digestive and nutritional problems. Your other teeth may start to shift or over-erupt to compensate for the missing teeth. Changes in tooth position can influence the ability to properly clean teeth and may also result in a risk of gum disease and cavities developing.
If you’ve lost one or more teeth, there are several options to choose from to replace them.
- Dentures: These can be either full or partial, depending on how many teeth have been lost. They are made in a lab and are based on measurements and an impression taken of your mouth.
- Bridge: Also a non-surgical option, a bridge is made up of false teeth that attach to surrounding natural teeth.
- Implant: This is a surgical procedure to replace the root and tooth by screwing a replica tooth into the jawbone for a more long-lasting effect.
Preventing tooth loss
We lose teeth for many reasons, including falls, accidents and sports-related injuries. Most of the time, it’s due to poor dental health. Here are some tips on how to keep your natural teeth in good condition, whatever your age:
- Brush your teeth first thing in the morning and before bedtime and floss at least once a day.
- Limit the amount of sugar you consume. If you drink pop or alcohol and smoke (tobacco, marijuana, vaping), try to cut back if you can’t quit.
- Stay hydrated with water. Sipping water throughout the day will help keep your mouth moist and wash away food and drink residue and cavity-causing bacteria. It will also help offset dry mouth that can happen from some medications.
- Visit your dentist for regular check-ups. They can spot things you can’t and treat problems before they get worse.
Dentures, bridges or implants?
There are many dental procedures to restore your smile.