Around 178 million American adults are missing at least one tooth, including 40 million adults who are missing all of their teeth. Tooth loss affects the appearance of your smile, your overall oral and dental health, and potentially leads to bone loss in your jaw and additional tooth loss.
But what causes tooth loss, and what are your options when you’ve lost a tooth? At her modern and welcoming dental practice in Midtown New York, Jessica Pandich, DDS, offers personalized treatments to restore your smile and dental health after tooth loss.
Let’s explore what leads to tooth loss and your prosthetic options.
Leading causes of tooth loss
While your genes contribute to your dental structure and health, your lifestyle and dental hygiene habits have a significant influence on your risk of tooth loss.
As gum disease, or periodontitis, progresses, it doesn’t just eat away your gums. The bacteria and infection also attack the bone in your jaw, weakening your teeth’s foundation. Additionally, advanced gum disease causes your gums to pull away from your teeth, further loosening them.
When you think about tooth decay, you probably think about getting a cavity. However, when left untreated, tooth decay can penetrate deep into your tooth, eventually attacking the pulpy interior that protects the blood vessels and nerves that keep your tooth alive. When this happens, even the most talented dentist might not be able to repair the damage and save your tooth. When you have such a severely decayed tooth, your dentist can extract the tooth.
Every year, around 5 million teeth are knocked out. Even more are broken so severely that extraction is the best option. Most of the time, these traumatic injuries are related to sports or automobile accidents. While prompt action can save an avulsed tooth, you might also have to live with tooth loss.
Tooth loss risk factors
Your risk of tooth loss increases if you have poor dental hygiene. Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day and flossing at least once a day helps remove the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. It would be best if you also had dental checkups every six months so your dentist can diagnose and treat dental problems before they progress and lead to tooth loss.
Other risk factors for tooth loss include poor nutrition and smoking or using other tobacco products. Additionally, conditions like diabetes can affect the blood vessels in your teeth, jaw, and gums, and increase your risk of tooth loss.
Tooth loss treatment options
Dr. Pandich offers several options to restore your smile after tooth loss. Before recommending any prosthetic device, she provides a thorough exam to evaluate your overall dental health and identify the best option for you.
Dental implants are a popular tooth replacement option that restores your smile and stimulates healthy bone growth in your jaw to prevent future tooth loss. Dental implants consist of a metal post that Dr. Pandich surgically places in your jawbone, a crown, and an abutment that connects the two.
If you’re missing all the teeth on your top or bottom arch, dentures are a prosthetic option that fits over your gums, replacing your teeth. Dr. Pandich provides custom-made, natural-looking dentures, and provides follow-up care to ensure your dentures fit correctly.
Dental bridges are an option if you’re missing one or more adjacent teeth. Dental bridges fill the gap left by missing teeth and are anchored in place with crowns on the teeth on either side of the gap.