Unfortunately, very few of us make it through life with a complete set of 32 teeth. If you lose a tooth due to trauma, injury, or dental decay, not only the aesthetics of your smile will be affected. Losing a tooth can also weaken your jawbone and alter your bite over time.
Luckily, the advances in prosthetics and implant dentistry make it possible to permanently replace a missing tooth and restore its natural look and function. In this article, we are going to talk about what to do if you lose a tooth and what tooth replacement options are available at Rockcliffe Dental & Denture Centre.
How Can You Lose a Tooth (As an Adult)?
Many times, when we think about somebody losing a tooth, the image we conjure is a child losing their milk teeth. However, this can happen to adults as well.
Some of the most common reasons you can lose a tooth as an adult include:
- Poor dental care. The most common reason behind tooth loss is poor dental health caused by poor care and hygiene. If the infection reaches below the gum line, it can quickly separate the tooth from the gums, making it unstable. Over time, the tooth can either fall out or require replacement.
- Tooth decay. With time, small tooth decay can grow into a serious problem. While small cavities can be easily fixed with fillings and crowns, widespread decay may lead to too much damage. If this occurs, the tooth may have to be removed in order to prevent more severe issues.
- Tooth trauma or injury. Impacts and injuries can loosen teeth or even make them fall out completely. This type of damage can be caused by any direct trauma to the mouth, such as sports injuries or car accidents.
- Disease. Oral diseases can affect both the teeth and the underlying jaw bone structure. This disruption can destabilize the teeth, making them more likely to fall out.
- Tooth grinding. Tooth grinding, or bruxism, can lead to tooth trauma over time. Clenching and grinding can eventually wear down the enamel, making your teeth more vulnerable to decay and infection.
- Smoking. Smoking has a significant negative effect on your oral health, especially the gums. Smokers are at a higher risk of periodontal disease, and, consequently, more likely to lose teeth.
- Age. As people get older, their teeth wear down with regular use, and the risk of oral issues increases. Most people over the age of 35 are at a higher risk of tooth loss.
What to Do If Your Tooth Gets Knocked Out?
Regardless of the cause, losing an adult tooth is more than just a cosmetic issue, it constitutes a dental emergency. If the tooth was chipped or knocked out by direct trauma, contact your emergency dental clinic immediately. If you see a dentist soon enough, they may be able to reattach and save your permanent tooth.
Here are the important steps you should take if your tooth gets knocked out:
- Recover your knocked-out tooth. Find the tooth, but make sure not to touch the root of the tooth. While this may be difficult, it is important to only handle the crown part of your lost tooth to prevent any additional damage.
- Stop the bleeding. When a tooth is knocked out, the socket may begin gushing blood. You can place clean cotton balls on the wound to help absorb the blood and slow down the bleeding. Hold the cotton balls down with your finger and change them frequently.
- Rinse the tooth. Use milk, water, or saline solution to clean the tooth. If using the saline solution, make sure that it is sterile. Make sure not to scrub or wipe the tooth, but just gently rinse off the crown and the root.
- Reinsert your tooth into the empty socket. Sometimes, you may be able to put your tooth back. Hold your tooth in place by gently biting down on soft fabric or medical gauze.
- Protect the tooth. If you weren’t able to reinsert the tooth, place it in a glass of milk or saline solution. If you can’t find any milk or saline solution at home, tap water would NOT work. Instead, you can place the tooth in your mouth between your cheek and gums.
- Go to an emergency dentist. The fastest you get to the dentist, the better chance you have to save a tooth. Make sure to bring the tooth with you.
What Happens If You Ignore a Missing Tooth?
If you are missing one or more of your teeth, delaying dental treatment can lead to more serious oral health issues, resulting in more expensive treatments down the road.
1. Teeth Misalignment
Naturally, your teeth support each other. Therefore, if one is missing, it can cause neighbouring teeth to lean and shift into the gap. This shifting can lead to a domino effect on the rest of your teeth.
Over time, this can result in bite problems, a crooked smile, joint pain and headaches. Your teeth will become misaligned, making it more difficult to clean in between, which can lead to additional tooth decay and further tooth loss.
2. Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
If your teeth begin to move because of the gap, it can be challenging to reach all surfaces when flossing and brushing, leading to bacteria buildup. This can increase the risk of gum disease and tooth decay, which could lead to further tooth loss.
3. Bone Loss
The roots of your teeth help to support your jaw bone and stimulate bone growth. When one or several teeth are missing, the bone in the surrounding area no longer gets the stimulation to grow, resulting in bone loss.
With time, this bone loss can make your jaw shrink, altering the shape of your face and making it not stable enough to support the remaining teeth.
What Are the Options for Replacing Lost Teeth?
Thanks to advancements in modern dentistry, there are a variety of options to choose from when it comes to replacing lost teeth. We recommend booking an appointment at Rockcliffe Dental & Denture Centre so that our skilled dentists can explain all the possible options for replacing your missing teeth to restore the look and function of your smile.
Potential dental treatments include:
1. Single Tooth Dental Implant
Single tooth dental implants offer a permanent solution to replace teeth lost due to injury, gum disease, or tooth decay. If you are missing one tooth, a small titanium screw will be placed in your jaw during a relatively quick and painless procedure. Then, an abutment will be placed on top of the screw, which will hold a dental crown – your artificial replacement tooth.
2. Implant-Supported Bridge
If you are missing multiple teeth, a fixed implant-supported bridge offers a great long-term solution to restore natural aesthetics and function. While traditional dental bridges usually compromise adjacent teeth and can lead to gum recession, implant-supported bridges are more comfortable and provide overall better stability and function.
3. Implant-Supported Denture
If you are missing all or nearly all of your natural teeth, a dental implant-supported denture is a great option for a hassle-free, permanent solution. The procedure involves the placement of 4 to 6 dental implants per jaw, which support a complete set of prosthetic teeth. With proper hygiene and oral care, your implant-supported dentures can last you a lifetime.
Complete or partial dentures are a more cost-effective solution that can provide immediate satisfaction in filling in the gaps of missing teeth. They are made to match the natural tooth colour and can be removed for cleaning. However, dentures can lead to gum and bone loss, leading to jaw bone deterioration over time.
How Can You Protect Your Teeth?
While knowing that there are many dental treatments available for missing teeth may bring you comfort, you should always take proper precautions to protect yourself from tooth loss.
One of the most common ways teeth are lost in adults is through sports-related accidents. Tumbling, tackling, or roughhousing can lead to an accidental hit to the jaw. Make sure to always wear a mouthguard while participating in contact sports. If your tooth does get knocked out or becomes loose due to an injury, visit an emergency dentist as soon as possible.
In addition, it is important to follow healthy dental habits to protect your teeth from decay and periodontal diseases. Make sure to brush two times a day and floss once daily while getting regular dental examinations and professional dental hygiene at Rockcliffe Dental & Denture Centre.
Lost a Tooth? Call Rockcliffe Dental & Denture Centre Immediately
So what to do if you lost a tooth? If you have lost a tooth or are missing several teeth, don’t delay booking an appointment with Dr. Koniouchine at Rockcliffe Dental & Denture Centre to discuss your treatment options. Timely treatment can help to restore the look and function of your smile and prevent more serious oral health issues in the future. Give us a call today.