Typically, adults have 28 teeth (32 if you count the wisdom teeth). Thanks to dental hygiene and regular dental care, many people will make it through their entire lives with all 28 teeth intact. Although many people never loss a permanent tooth, tooth loss isn’t completely wiped out. Millions of people in the US are missing at least one tooth, either due to an injury or decay. If you are missing a tooth, it’s best to see a dentist for treatment, to keep the rest of your teeth and gums as healthy as can be.
What Happened to the Tooth?
There are many reasons why a person might lose one or more teeth. An injury to the mouth when playing a sport is one reason for tooth loss. A person can have a tooth knocked out if he or she is hit in the mouth by a flying soccer ball or if a person smashes his or her mouth into a basketball net when trying to dunk the ball. Falling while skating or cycling can also lead to tooth loss, if a person isn’t wearing a helmet or mouth guard.
A lack of good oral care can also lead to tooth loss. For example, if a person rarely or never sees a dentist for a good cleaning or if a person doesn’t have the best oral hygiene routine at home, the teeth are more likely to decay. Since the person doesn’t see a dentist, the teeth aren’t treated in a timely way and they might fall out on their own or ultimately be removed by a dentist.
Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss and more than half of the people who are dealing with tooth loss are also dealing with gum disease. If the condition isn’t treated early enough, the bone and gum tissue can wear away so much that there isn’t enough left to keep the tooth in the mouth.
In some cases, it could be that a person never got the tooth in the first place. It’s not just wisdom teeth that can be impacted. Other permanent teeth can get stuck in the gums or not come in fully, meaning that an oral surgeon needs to remove them from the mouth.
Why Replace the Tooth
If you’ve lost a tooth or had a tooth removed from your mouth, you might wonder if it’s even worth your time to replace it. The answer is yes, for a few reasons. For one thing, the more teeth you have, the easier it is to chew food. Even losing a single tooth makes it much more difficult to chew and eat. It’s also more difficult to pronounce words and speak when even a single tooth is missing.
There are physical reasons to replace a lost tooth, too. When a tooth is no longer in place, a process called resorption begins, meaning that the bone that supported the teeth begins to shrink and to sink. The gum tissue in the same area can also begin to sink, creating a cavity or depression where the tooth once was.
All the teeth in your mouth are there for a reason. They play big role in shaping your bite and the way your teeth fit together. When a tooth is lost and not replaced, the teeth formerly on either side of it can start to shift, moving closer together. The shifting teeth can affect your bite and can increase your risk for tooth decay.
Fortunately, you live in a world where there are more options than ever for replacing a lost tooth. Your options range from dentures, or removable replacement teeth, to implants. Although dentures are usually the cheaper option, implants are often preferable.
For one thing, a single tooth implant is fixed and permanent in your mouth. The replacement tooth, or crown, is held in place by a titanium post, which replaces the root of the tooth. When you have a dental implant, you never have to remove the replacement tooth from your mouth. It looks and feels like a natural tooth, meaning you can chew with it and brush it as you would the rest of your teeth. Since an implant feels like a natural tooth, there’s no adjustment period during which you get used to the feel of the implant in your mouth. Typically, dentures require a period of getting used to the denture.
The Miami practice of Dr. John Paul Gallardo offers single tooth replacements as well as treatments for gum disease and other dental implants. If you are dealing with an impacted tooth or need to have your wisdom teeth removed, Dr. Juan Arroyo, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, can extract the affected teeth. To learn more about your options for treating tooth loss, call (305) 447-1447 today.