Injury, gum disease and tooth decay are the most common causes of missing teeth. Some people have congenitally missing teeth, which means they were born without certain teeth. This condition is often hereditary, and the most common teeth that are missing are the wisdom teeth, second premolars and upper lateral incisors.
Over time, missing teeth may result in serious health issues, such as poor nutrition because food is not properly chewed and speech defects. All of the teeth are needed in the jaw to prevent teeth from moving. When teeth move in the jaw, they can cause large gaps in one area and overcrowding in another as well as serious bite problems that may require orthodontic treatment. Just one missing tooth can weaken the overall structure of the mouth, causing more tooth loss. Missing teeth may be unattractive if they are in the front and cause embarrassment.
Missing teeth may also be the result of an inherited disorder called ectodermal dysplasia. Children who visit a dentist when they are very young have a better chance of having these issues treated early, so the dentist can plan ahead to deal with the problem when there is no adult tooth to grow after the removal of a baby tooth.
Tooth decay that is related to gum disease, called gingivitis, is the most common cause of tooth loss. This may happen when the teeth are not given proper care. Plaque and tartar develop, causing decay in the tooth and deterioration in the gums. The teeth will gradually become loose and fall out. This problem is easily prevented with proper oral hygiene. Teeth should be brushed twice every day and flossed once every day. Plaque can be kept at a minimum, but if tarter develops, only a professional cleaning can remove it. This is the main reason it is recommended to have regular cleanings twice each year.
A temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder may be another cause for tooth loss. This joint connects the jaw to the skull, and when it does not function properly, it can cause pain. The symptoms of TMJ include difficulty chewing, a clicking sound and pain in the joint.
Injuries that may be the result of participating in sports or the result of an automobile or other type of accident are also a major cause of tooth loss. This may be the result of a blow that knocks out a tooth. However, if the injury affects the gum or jawbone, it may result in tooth loss. It may not be possible to prevent accidental injuries, but sports injuries can be prevented with a mouth guard, helmet and other protective gear. A custom-made mouth guard is the best bet, and it should be worn during practice as well as games.
Fortunately, there are several options for replacing missing teeth. During a consultation with our specialist at Implant Dentistry of Virginia, you can learn more about your specific tooth loss problem and the treatment options. Implants, bridges and dentures are all possible solutions to get your teeth and gums back to good health. Our office is located in Virginia Beach. Contact us today to book a dental appointment.