Around 178 million Americans have lost at least one of their permanent teeth, whereas 40 million people in the country have lost all of their permanent teeth. Tooth loss is a common problem in the aging population of the U.S. Almost 30% of adults who are between the ages of 65-74 have lost their teeth and are relying on replacement tooth appliances. Tooth appliances include dentures, dental crowns, bridges and surgeries like dental implants to help them eat, talk, and smile confidently.
Causes of Tooth Loss
There are many causes of tooth loss. People who are most affected by tooth loss in old age are the ones who have poor oral health and hygiene. Malnourishment and a lack of essential minerals in the diet, such as calcium, fluoride and phosphate, can weaken the teeth and lead to tooth loss. This is because tooth enamel, which is the outer hardest coating of the teeth is made of calcium and phosphate ions and protects the teeth from bacterial infections and damage. But the deficiency of these minerals can hinder the formation of enamel and lead to the weakening of teeth, making them more prone to decay and damage.
People who are negligent of their oral hygiene or are habitual smokers are also at high risk. Poor oral hygiene leads to a bacterial buildup in the teeth and gum lines, causing plaque and tartar formation. With time, the bacteria may erode the enamel and damage the teeth, leading to decay. Tooth decay is the appearance of holes or black and brown spots on the teeth. When the bacteria manage to reach the pulp of the teeth and damage the roots, the teeth become weak and loose. These teeth can easily fall out and cause premature tooth loss in children and adults.
Another major cause of tooth loss is facial trauma, such as injuries sustained on the face while playing sports, in a car accident, or from a fall. Such facial traumas will lead to broken teeth and, in severe cases, tooth loss because of the impact received on the teeth.
Treatments for Tooth Loss
All of the treatments for tooth loss involve replacing the missing or broken teeth. Dentures are the most common treatment method for replacing missing or broken teeth. Full and partial dentures are custom-made to ensure that they resemble the size, shape and color of the original teeth. Dentures are removable dental devices, which are fixed on the gums with the help of dental adhesives.
Materials, such as porcelain, acrylic, ceramic, and composite resin, are used to make dentures and the dentist ensures that the dentures fit perfectly on the dental arches. Ill-fitted dentures can cause injuries and lead to gum infections. For these reasons, dentists recommend that every night the dentures should be removed, cleansed, and soaked in lukewarm water to remove bacteria and food debris before they can be placed on the teeth again the next day.
Dental bridges can also be used to replace three to five lost teeth in a row. Just like dentures, dental bridges are custom-made to look like a person’s original teeth. At each end of the dental bridge, there is a crown that is fitted on top of the original teeth. The replacement teeth are aligned in between the crowns on each end and the whole bridge works like one dental removable dental device to help the person eat and talk properly and restore their smile.
Unlike dental bridges, crowns and dentures, implants are a permanent solution for replacing lost teeth. The dental implants are metal screws that are inserted inside a person’s jawbone to work like artificial roots for the new teeth. The replacement teeth that are fixed on top of the dental implants look and feel just like real teeth.
Schedule an Appointment
If you are suffering from tooth loss and would like to replace your lost or missing teeth, give Clackamas Implant & Oral Surgery Center a call at (503) 662-8744 to schedule an appointment.