If you’ve ever had an accident which has lead to the loss of a tooth, you will understand just how distressing it can be.
There is an emphasis in today’s society to create the “perfect” smile: many even described smiles as the first thing people notice. For a number of people the thought of going out in public with a gappy smile can be overwhelming, but did you know losing a tooth can also affect the overall structure of your mouth?
What causes tooth loss?
A number of factors can lead to tooth loss:
- Ignoring a cavity for a period of time, possibly exacerbated by sugary foods and drinks
- Auto-immune disease in children: Auto-immune disorders make it difficult for a young child’s body to combat disease, as a result if the child contracts a gum infection this can lead to early tooth loss
- Impact from contact sports (not wearing a mouth guard)
- Impact to the mouth as a result of assault
- Accidents (falls, car crashes)
Losing a tooth can affect jaw structure
The concern involving the loss of a tooth isn’t about the tooth loss so much as the affect this loss has on the bone surrounding it. The alveolar (a sack-like bone) surrounds and supports your teeth and requires stimulation to maintain its density. This stimulation is provided by the teeth themselves. Throughout the day your teeth will make fleeting contact with each other hundreds of times per day. This exercises the periodontal ligament that suspends each tooth in its socket during these brief moments of connection, prompting the alveolar to continually remodel and rebuild.
When you lose a tooth and fail to replace it, the bone surrounding the now empty space has no means of acquiring stimulation. This can cause the bone to deteriorate. Tooth loss also effects the tooth opposite, especially in back teeth where the tendency to over-erupt increases (moving further into the mouth and exposing the roots of the tooth).
It is estimated that within the first year of losing a tooth, the bone will suffer a 25% decrease in width and a 4mm decrease in height. In turn this deterioration influences the gum to deteriorate and if other teeth are lost without replacing them, then more bone structure is compromised which can eventually affecting the ability to chew and speak.
I’ve lost a tooth, what do I do?
Depending on how you lost the tooth, if you are able to find it, and if it all came out in one piece, the tooth may be able to be saved if you contact your dentist promptly. The tooth should be picked up by the crown (enamel) section. Avoid touching the root as this may damage it. Clean the tooth off (preferably with your own spit) and then transport the tooth in either a glass of milk or a mild saline solution (salt water).
If your tooth has been lost for a number of days, or even years, Dental Implants Solutions located Southport on the Gold Coast can help you recreate your smile. With the aid of a single tooth implant, no one will ever know – unless you tell them!