Tooth loss is unsightly. Patients who have missing teeth often feel self-conscious about their appearance and may even shy away from social settings out of embarrassment. However, there are far greater concerns caused by tooth loss, ones that should be quickly addressed by a dentist in order to maintain health and prevent future problems.
What Causes Tooth Loss
More often than not, periodontal disease is the cause of missing teeth. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is typically caused by the bacteria that lives in plaque. Regular dental cleanings, brushing, and flossing are usually enough to keep this bacteria under control. However, when left unchecked, it can progress to the point of gum recession and bone and tooth loss. These conditions are more likely to impact individuals within certain demographics. For instance, gum disease and resulting tooth loss are more often seen among those with a lower socioeconomic status, smokers, males, and African Americans.
How Do Missing Teeth Impact Health
There are several health concerns that go hand-in-hand with missing teeth. Generally, these concerns are tied more directly to the underlying cause of gum disease than they are to the teeth themselves. The most prevalent health concern that comes with periodontitis is heart disease. Adults with missing teeth have a 28 percent higher likelihood of dying from heart disease and a 12 percent increased chance of dying from stroke. Cancer is another possibility, with gum disease being linked to instances of oral, lung, pancreatic, and upper gastrointestinal cancers. Additionally, the risk of other conditions such as dementia, chronic kidney disease, and pregnancy-related concerns such as preeclampsia and premature birth also increase.
What are the Treatment Options for Missing Teeth
Prevention is key for gum disease and tooth loss. Generally, these conditions are easily avoided with proper dental care. See you dentist every six months for cleaning and examination, brush each morning and night, and floss daily. Those simple steps will virtually guarantee that periodontal disease is kept at bay. However, for those who are already dealing with these conditions, there are treatment options available.
Dental implants are among the most popular and effective option for most patients suffering from tooth loss. In this surgical procedure, the implant is fused and integrated into the jaw bone, and generally proves to be as effective as the natural bone itself. Implants offer support and protection without compromising the remaining teeth, effectively stopping the process of future tooth loss. In conjunction with implants, a fixed bridge may be secured to replicate the lost teeth. Following these procedures, any physical evidence of the previous missing bone and teeth will be completely unnoticeable.
Embarrassing tooth loss is a reality for many patients. However, it doesn’t have to be. If you are in the Thibodaux area and are concerned about your own missing teeth, contact the office of Dr. Sheard Ber to learn what treatment options are available to you and how we can help. Simply click here.