Missing teeth are a major oral health concern. When you lose a tooth, the gum tissue in that area becomes more vulnerable to infection and injury, and the remaining healthy teeth may shift, causing a chain reaction of dental health issues that can include further tooth loss. Your dentist can address missing teeth using dentures or same-day dental implants, but what can you do to prevent tooth loss in the first place? Talk to your dentist in St. Louis about your risk, and consider these common causes of tooth loss.
Periodontal disease —or gum disease—is the most common cause of tooth loss. It occurs when bacteria from plaque along the gum line, triggering inflammation and infection. In its early stages, gum disease causes bleeding and tenderness, but when left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. Even if a periodontal disease doesn’t cause your teeth to fall out, your dentist may determine that they have been damaged beyond repair and that they need to be extracted. Periodontal disease is treatable, but it’s far easier to manage in its early stages, so see your dentist right away if you experience symptoms.
Sometimes, tooth loss occurs very suddenly as the result of an injury. While you can’t completely prevent injury to your teeth, you can lessen your risk by wearing a mouthguard when you play contact sports. After a blow to the mouth, an injury that could lead to tooth loss may not be immediately apparent. Sometimes, a root fracture can occur without any signs or symptoms, and then only become a problem years later when an infection settles in. Let your dentist know if you have recently suffered a mouth injury so he or she can check for hidden damage.
Tooth decay can be relatively easy to treat with a filling if you see your dentist as soon as symptoms appear. However, when tooth decay isn’t treated, the associated cavity can become so large that tooth extraction is the only solution. Decay can also cause infections in the jaw that may weaken the bone and result in tooth loss.