Why do people lose their teeth?
People lose their teeth for several reasons. In most cases the teeth have been extracted but it is also fairly common for a tooth simply not to grow, just leaving a space.
Some of the reasons you may have a tooth removed include:
- For orthodontic treatment to create space
- Accidents or dental trauma
- Failed root canal
- Dental caries (tooth decay)
- Gum disease
- Extreme tooth wear
- Risk of infections from teeth if undergoing major surgery
- Fractured teeth
- Broken large fillings
- Gum abscesses
- Teeth abscesses
It is a natural process for a child to lose their baby teeth to give way to their permanent teeth. This process usually begins at six years old and takes another 6 years for all the adult teeth (except wisdom teeth) to come through.
Why do I need to replace my missing teeth?
Aside from being unsightly which can lead to confidence and self-esteem issues, missing teeth can also give rise to a malocclusion (abnormal bite). You may think that having an abnormal bite doesn’t sound so bad, but it can lead to all sorts of other problems like wear and food trapping. Gaps from a missing tooth actually cause the other teeth to move and shift towards the empty space. The more your other teeth move, the more they are likely to get crooked and the more difficult these areas are to clean; sensitivity will also develop. The longer you leave it the more movement occurs. Teeth that aren’t balanced in the bite will also grow down into the bite and over time this can make putting anything in the space very difficult. Crooked teeth are more susceptible to food packing and damage because they are harder to clean. This can lead to gum disease (as discussed earlier- periodontal disease is one of the reasons for tooth loss). and tooth decay. Now, what if you have two or more missing teeth? Well, the more exaggerated the effects on your mouth and bite will be. If you chew with fewer teeth, they end up taking more force and wearing more quickly- it’s a slippery slope. Teeth also fill out our face and support our cheeks so if you don’t fill them then wrinkles occur and a more sunken appearance results accelerating the ageing process.
What treatments are there to replace my missing teeth?
Fortunately, nobody has to have missing teeth as there are a variety of solutions for different budgets and expectations. Treatments such as dental bridges, dentures, and dental implants can effectively replace your missing teeth. In a nutshell:
Bridges are restorations that attach to your natural teeth, one crown each side attached to a fake tooth in the middle.
Dentures, on the other hand, are removable appliances that can be made of acrylic, cobalt chrome or a flexi material.
Lastly, implants, as the name implies, are metal appliances that are surgically placed in the jawbone essentially replacing the root of the tooth or teeth. The dental restorations are then either clipped or screwed onto it, this can be an implant crown, an implant bridge or an implant denture.
Talk to your Maroubra dentist to see what treatment is best for you.
How can I prevent losing teeth?
Along with good dental hygiene (flossing and brushing your teeth twice daily) and routine visits to your dentist, you can also start a healthy diet that contains calcium and other nutrients. Avoiding smoking tobacco- this also helps in preventing tooth loss. Just generally take an interest in taking great care of your teeth and you are far less likely to get problems that will need extractions. If you play any contact sport, get a professional custom made mouthguard made to protect your teeth. This is a no brainer!