As we get older, it’s fair to say that we take our teeth and oral health for granted. With adult teeth, once you lose a natural tooth, it has gone for good – there is no natural way in which they can grow back. In the UK, three in four adults will lose at least one tooth in their lifetime. But, what causes tooth loss and how can you effectively deal with it, whilst you look to recover the appearance of a full smile?
There are many reasons why you might suffer from tooth loss when you are an adult. But, regardless of the reason for missing teeth, if you are looking for tooth loss solutions or for ways in which you can effectively deal with tooth loss, then there are a number of different treatments available.
The loss of just one tooth can have a negative impact on your oral health and, if left untreated, can cause further tooth loss or knock on effects on your overall health. Let’s take a look at the ways in which you can effectively deal with tooth loss and how to protect your oral health.
Who Is Affected By Tooth Loss?
Tooth loss affects a large number of adults each year, including:
- ¾ of adults in the UK don’t have a full set of natural teeth.
- Around 15% of adults have no natural teeth.
- 21% of UK adults experience difficulty or problems when eating because of their teeth.
Why Does Tooth Loss Happen?
When you’re a child, losing your baby teeth feels almost like a rite of passage in growing up. In most cases, these teeth are then replaced by adult teeth, which can last between 60-80 years, or even longer with good care. Losing your teeth as an adult is irreversible and can have a number of impacts on your life, from your confidence levels to the way you eat, chew and talk.
There are a number of reasons why you might suffer from tooth loss in adulthood, from accidents to the consequences of certain medical conditions. Here are some of the reasons why you might experience tooth loss in adulthood.
Periodontitis (also known as gum disease) causes severe inflammation of your gums. Symptoms typically include red, swollen or bleeding gums and, if left untreated, can contribute to tooth loss. Treatment for periodontitis usually involves a deep clean of the mouth and gums and, in some severe cases, dental surgery.
Periodontitis occurs when a build up of plaque and bacteria then irritates the gums and makes them red and swollen. You may notice bleeding when you brush or floss. As the bacteria continues to irritate the gums, this can then cause gums to recede, leaving small spaces where plaque can build up further and cause infections.
When untreated, these infections can impact the bone and tissue in your mouth, causing damage to the structure of your mouth. Periodontitis can be spotted with regular dental checkups, where preventative measures can be implemented. It’s important to know that periodontitis isn’t always painful, like toothache or tooth sensitivity. In a lot of cases, you might not even notice that you have it.
Poor Eating Habits
Another common cause of tooth loss can be the result of poor eating habits which, if left untreated, can result in substantial tooth decay. Every food and drink that we consume has an impact on our oral health and foods which contain high levels of sugar can contribute significantly to tooth decay and tooth loss.
Bacteria on the surface of the teeth will feed on the sugars which you eat that then create harmful acids which slowly destroy the enamel on your teeth. This then forms cavities which can progress through the tooth enamel and further damage the deeper levels of your teeth, causing significant pain and eventually tooth loss.
Tooth Loss Solutions
Regardless of the way in which you have experienced tooth loss, it can have a hugely negative impact on the alignment of your teeth and your oral health overall. Unfortunately, teeth do not last forever and a missing tooth can cause a number of problems. Thankfully, there are a number of solutions available to replace your missing tooth or teeth which can help to restore your smile.
Dental implants are one of the most common tooth loss solutions. They are a reliable method of tooth replacement which not only looks like natural teeth, but function just like your natural teeth, too. With dental implants, there are a variety of treatments available to address your tooth loss, whether you have lost one tooth or multiple, and are permanent.
When dental implants are fitted, it involves fixing a metal implant, often titanium, which looks like a screw to your jawbone. Then, a dental crown is fitted to this screw which functions and appears like a natural tooth. Although dental implants involve some dental surgery, the treatment is relatively straightforward and patients typically don’t report pain or discomfort.
Pros of Dental Implants
- Dental implants are one of the most effective options for dealing with tooth loss.
- They provide a natural appearance and function and feel just like natural teeth.
- Dental implants offer a permanent and lifelong replacement for natural teeth.
Cons of Dental Implants
- Dental implants are one of the most expensive solutions to tooth loss.
- There is a surgical procedure required, where the dental implants are fitted to the jawbone.
Fixed Dental Bridges
If you’re not suitable for dental implants, or don’t fancy undergoing treatment for implants, then it may be worth considering fixed dental bridges instead. Fixed dental bridges are a good solution for tooth loss if you are missing one, or more, tooth in the same area. A fixed dental bridge, essentially, bridges the gap which is caused by tooth loss using prosthetic teeth. A fake or prosthetic tooth is attached to the adjacent teeth and it is bonded into place with the use of dental cement.
Pros of Dental Bridges
- Fixed dental bridges are a good solution for tooth loss as they look and feel like natural teeth.
- They can improve the appearance of your natural teeth on each side of the space where tooth loss occurs.
- Compared to dental implants, dental bridges are a much cheaper option for tooth loss solutions.
Cons of Dental Bridges
- It can be hard to clean the surrounding teeth or the area underneath the dental bridge.
- Treatment for dental bridges can involve altering preexisting teeth. If a dental bridge is poorly fitted, then this could damage the adjoining teeth over time.
- As the dental bridge can be hard to clean, plaque and bacteria can build up underneath the bridge or on the surrounding teeth, causing tooth decay or infection.
Worried About Tooth Loss?
If you have concerns about tooth loss, general oral health or have any questions about tooth loss solutions, then it’s always best to speak to your local dentist in Wakefield, Sheffield or York. It’s important with these problems that you get in touch with your dentist as soon as possible so that you can get a solution sorted and diagnose and problems.