If you have experienced adult tooth loss, you know that not only can it be a painful experience, but it can have quite a negative effect on your self-confidence too. Tooth loss is not all that uncommon, however. Whether it be due to dental trauma, gum disease, or otherwise, you know that you want to make efforts to prevent losing another tooth if it has happened once.

Five facts you should know about tooth loss.

Adult teeth should last a lifetime. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and thus adults must take the appropriate steps to preserve the teeth they have. Poor oral hygiene can lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, and gum disease as well. If left untreated, tooth decay can cause problems in other parts of the body as well. If you have experienced losing a tooth, there are some things you should know.

The effects of missing teeth stemming from tooth decay extend beyond the tooth itself.

Tooth shifting is a result of tooth loss.

When tooth loss is not treated, your remaining teeth will shift due to the gap left from the missing tooth. As those remaining teeth begin to drift, it can create a crooked look to those teeth that remain. Further, crooked teeth can lead to a poor bite, which may make chewing more difficult. And this additional pressure experienced by your teeth may make it easier for them to fracture.

Tooth loss often leads to periodontal disease.

When a tooth falls out, it leaves a gap, which creates a perfect place for bacteria to grow and thrive. When brushing, it is easy to miss the space, making it challenging to keep the area clean. Unfortunately, bacteria grow at an alarmingly fast rate. It can spread into the gums, leading to advanced gum disease, otherwise known as periodontal disease. To make matters worse, this infection can lead to issues with the nearby teeth, ultimately increasing your chances of further tooth decay and worsened gum disease.

Bone loss is an after effect.

Over time, bones can weaken from lack of use. When you lose teeth, the bones in your mouth weaken and lose density. And over time, bone loss can affect the shape of your entire lower jaw. The width of your mouth decreases, and your chin will shift upward, angled slightly to point forward. Though wearing dentures can help slow down the damage to your bones, proper care and dental attention are still necessary to preserve the jaw bone.

Tooth loss can increase your chances of developing TMD.

When your teeth shift and when you experience bone loss, it can increase the chances of developing temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder, otherwise known as TMJ. This condition is due to damage to the muscles and joints that are used to control your jaw. When your jaw shifts, the upper and lower parts of your jaw may no longer fit together correctly. The resulting positioning can increase strain, which leads to, or exacerbates, a TMJ disorder.

If you have tooth loss and are now experiencing jaw pain, clicking or popping in your jaw, muscular headaches, or you are unable to open your jaw as you have in the past, it is possible that you have developed TMD.

Socket preservation may be necessary if you have experienced tooth loss.

As mentioned, the jawbone begins to reshape itself when a tooth is pulled or when a tooth is missing due to tooth decay-related tooth loss. Dentists can use socket preservation to counteract this natural occurrence. Oral surgeons use socket preservation, a form of bone grafting, to preserve and protect the dental ridge and surrounding bone tissue until dental implants can be inserted into the jawbone.

Socket prevention helps prevent bone erosion from occurring in the bone socket and corrects any deformity in the alveolar ridge or socket.

Dr. May and the Metro East Dental Care team can help.

We know that the loss of even one adult tooth can have a poor effect on your neighboring teeth and gums. Further, losing a tooth often has negative consequences on your smile, which can erode your self-esteem. But this doesn’t mean that you have to live with missing teeth. Dr. May and the team at Metro East Dental Care can help determine the right treatment plan for your tooth loss and can help you to prevent further lost teeth down the road.

If you have experienced tooth loss in the Granite City area, you should know that Dr. May can help. Delaying treatment for tooth decay or tooth loss can lead to periodontal disease. So, don’t delay in seeking help. Contact our office at (618) 732-1637 or request an appointment using our online form.

We look forward to meeting you and helping you put a plan in place for long-lasting oral hygiene that can lessen your chances of future tooth loss.