While a wiggly tooth is an exciting moment for a child, it can be an upsetting one for an adult, yet tooth loss in adults is very common. The American College of Prosthodontists estimates that close to 200 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and the risks increase with age: About 30% of people ages 65-74 are completely edentulous.
Although tooth loss in adults is common — especially in those with gum disease — the team at Dr. Darj Dental is on a mission to help patients in El Paso, Texas, reduce their risk of tooth loss. Here, Mehrnoosh Darj, DDS, covers the causes of tooth loss, how to prevent it, and what treatment options are available.
Top causes of adult tooth loss
Tooth loss refers to the loss of a tooth by extraction or if it falls out (or is knocked out) on its own. Risk factors for adult tooth loss include:
- Trauma to the face (either an accident or sports injury)
- Severe tooth decay (which may lead to an extraction)
- Gum disease
- Having poor oral hygiene
- Being over age 35
Out of these risk factors, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss, and unfortunately, tooth loss related to gum disease is more likely to affect your front (anterior) teeth than your posterior teeth.
How to prevent adult tooth loss
The good news about that list of risk factors for tooth loss is that most of them are within your control. While you can’t do anything about the natural aging process, you can take steps to improve your oral hygiene, address any current dental issues you have, and stop smoking.
To reduce your risk of tooth loss related to gum disease and tooth decay, take your at-home oral care routine to the next level. Brush your teeth twice a day for a full two minutes, floss daily, and use mouthwash. Holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle is especially helpful for brushing along your gums.
If you notice that your gums are tender or inflamed, talk to Dr. Darj right away. Gingivitis, the first sign of gum disease, often presents with red, tender, or bleeding gums, and it’s the easiest form of gum disease to treat. Addressing it right away can help you avoid more advanced gum disease and tooth loss.
To prevent tooth loss related to an accident, protect yourself. Wear a mouthguard when you play high-risk sports. This includes basketball, boxing, rugby, skateboarding, and horseback riding.
To avoid tooth loss related to smoking, consider smoking cessation. Not only does this help reduce your risk of tooth loss, but it also helps reduce your risk of gum disease, oral cancer, and many other types of cancer and lung issues.
Replacing missing teeth
Even if you adopt all of the best prevention strategies, you can’t avoid all accidents. If you do lose a tooth, Dr. Darj offers many restoration options. Depending on how many teeth you’ve lost and your own personal preferences, you may consider a dental bridge or an implant.
In the case of a knocked out tooth, call 915-213-3767 right away to utilize our urgent care services. Dental splinting may be able to save a knocked out tooth.
You can also use online booking to request a non-urgent appointment anytime