Losing your baby (milk) teeth is a normal part of growing up, but losing your permanent teeth is cause for concern. Long-term research has shown there are certain risk factors for adult tooth loss caused by gum disease. Males over the age of 35 are at greater risk of tooth loss from periodontal disease, and the risk increases in those who suffer from high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.
No one – regardless of age – wants to have edentulism (the absence of one or more teeth). Beyond these known risk factors, let’s look at the top causes of tooth loss in adults.
One of the primary causes of tooth loss is decay and gum disease. This can be avoided with good oral hygiene. By brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day, you can ensure harmful bacteria are removed from teeth enamel after meals and reduce plaque build-up that leads to cavities.
When oral hygiene is neglected, and bacteria are allowed to colonize, gums will become inflamed and begin to recede. Gingival infection can progress gradually over time, spreading to deeper structures such as the alveolar bone. If left untreated, periodontal disease can destroy healthy bone tissue that supports the teeth, causing tooth loss.
Anecdotal research has shown that tobacco use (smoking cigarettes, cigars or chewing tobacco) negatively impacts blood supply, which in turn contributes to gum disease and eventually tooth loss. Some studies suggest that long-term smokers are twice as likely to lose teeth compared to non-smokers. Quitting smoking and tobacco use is a smart way to increase your chances of having strong, healthy teeth well into your senior years.
Teeth and their underlying structures can easily be fractured and damaged during contact sports or knocked out in a motor vehicle accident or serious fall. Even in situations where the tooth is only cracked or chipped, immediate care must be taken to ensure the root is intact and not infected. Your dentist can verify if treatment with a conservative restoration, like bonding or a crown will suffice, or if the damaged tooth should be removed and replaced with a permanent implant.
Thousands of people suffer from bruxism and yet have no idea they grind their teeth during sleep. Bruxism is often stress-related, but not always. Waking up with a sore jaw, dull headache or tooth pain are some of the most common symptoms. In more drastic cases, teeth grinding can lead to loosening of the teeth which can eventually lead to tooth loss. Bruxism can also wear down the enamel, paving the way for tooth decay.
Tooth loss has a number of undesirable consequences. In addition to embarrassment, anxiety and trouble eating and speaking, edentulism can lead to bone atrophy and changes in facial features.
There are many treatment options for tooth loss, designed with purpose of restoring comfort, function and aesthetics, but none as durable and natural-looking as dental implants. At Long Island Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry, our goal is to help our patients smile with dignity and grace.
Whether you need one or multiple teeth replaced, dental implants can restore your oral health, your appearance, and let you live your life with confidence. Want to learn more about dental implants in Suffolk County? Call us today and book a free consultation!
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