When someone mentions tooth loss, your mind probably immediately imagines the sweet toothless grins of elementary students. It’s a little less cute when you imagine the same gummy smiles on an adult. Today, our team is discussing tooth loss in adults.
In addition to the aesthetic reasons to seek help for a missing tooth, it’s also essential for your oral health to see a dentist if you have a loose or missing tooth – especially a missing molar. We help Oklahoma City-area adults navigate tooth loss prevention, tooth loss first aid, and solutions for missing teeth daily.
If you have a loose or missing tooth today and you’re looking for help in Edmond, OKC, or the surrounding areas, we’re here to help. Contact us to schedule an appointment!
Adult Tooth Loss Statistics
In the United States, adult tooth loss is common. In fact, the CDC reports that one-quarter (26%) of adults aged 65 or older have eight or fewer teeth. They also note that about 1 in 6 (17%) adults aged 65 or older have lost all their teeth.
Tooth loss is most common among older adults who are poor, have less than a high school education, or are current cigarette smokers. They are more than three times as likely to have lost all their teeth as the comparison groups.
Common Causes of Tooth Loss in Adults
While tooth loss is most common among older adults, it can happen to just about anyone of any age. Here are a few of the common and widely varied causes of tooth loss in adults:
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay and cavities
- Poor nutrition
- Injury or trauma
- Teeth grinding
- High blood pressure
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Drug use
Tooth Loss Prevention
Tooth loss prevention often begins with simply practicing good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time, floss once a day, and visit your dentist every six months for regular checkups and cleanings. If you don’t have an Oklahoma dentist, make an appointment with us.
At your regular dental appointment, your dentist and hygiene specialist will be able to identify any potential problems and ensure preventative measures are taken when necessary. For example, if they see signs of grinding, they can help you explore options for nighttime guards to protect your teeth.
Sometimes tooth loss is inevitable, for example, during a sports injury or car accident. But for most other situations, preventative measures can help!
Treatment Options for Loose Adult Teeth
If you currently have a loose tooth, there are actions that we can recommend to help preserve your tooth.
- Scaling and planing – this type of deep cleaning procedure goes under the gum line and removes plaque and tartar buildup that is not accessible to be removed during a traditional cleaning.
- Dental appliances – sometimes, we recommend a nighttime mouth guard for patients with loose teeth. The guard protects the teeth by creating a barrier between the top and bottom teeth, preventing further damage while sleeping.
- Periodontal surgery – for patients with loose teeth due to gum disease, sometimes a recommendation may be made to consult with a periodontist to investigate the need for further surgical treatment.
Tooth Loss First Aid Steps
If you are in an accident and have sustained an impact on your teeth, face, or jaw, it’s wise to make an appointment with the dentist to get everything checked out. Sometimes damage can be invisible to an untrained eye, but cracks or other damage to teeth can occur and cause pain or discomfort later on.
If you lose a tooth, perhaps due to a fall, athletic injury, or bike accident, take these tooth loss first aid steps to protect your mouth and tooth.
- Locate your tooth – look around and find the tooth that has fallen out. Do not touch the tooth’s root, but instead, grab the crown part of your tooth to ensure you do not damage the root.
- Clean the tooth – using water or sterile saline, rinse the tooth. Don’t allow it to touch chemicals, soap, or other substances.
- Replace the tooth back into the empty socket – As strange as it may sound, reinserting your tooth back into the socket will help protect it. You can gently bite down on gauze or paper towels after replacing the tooth while waiting for a dentist. If reinsertion doesn’t work, preserve the tooth by keeping it in a glass of milk or saline while you go to the dentist.
- Visit a dentist ASAP – you need to see a dentist after losing a tooth. Cobblestone Park Family Dental sees patients in Oklahoma City each week, Monday through Friday. If your injury occurs over the weekend or evening, you may need to find an emergency dentist, depending on the severity of your situation.
Do I Need to Replace a Lost Molar?
Molars are the largest teeth in your mouth, located toward the back of your mouth. Molars work to crush and grind food into smaller, swallowable pieces. Additionally, your molars are important because they maintain the proper alignment of your jaw and the rest of your teeth.
The impact of chewing on your molars also triggers your jaw bone to promote the development of bone mass in your jaw. Without the stimulation of the molars, bone mass production can slow and cause issues with your jaw later in life.
If you experience a loss of a molar, it can impact your ability to chew correctly, change the alignment of your jaw and teeth, and cause a decline in bone density in your jaw. Therefore, seeing a dentist after losing a molar tooth is vital. A dental implant or another solution will likely be recommended to replace the missing tooth.
What Are the Solutions for a Missing Adult Molar or Tooth
There are a few solutions for lost adult teeth. Each mouth and patient is different, so it’s important to discuss the best options with your dentist to determine the best course of action for your long-term oral health.
- Dental Implants – With dental implants, your natural tooth root is replaced with a piece of titanium fused to your jawbone. The new “root” is the anchor for a new replacement “tooth.”
- Bridges – A dental bridge is a replacement tooth named for how it bridges the gap between your other teeth. They can be made of porcelain, zirconium, ceramic, or composites. They act as an alternative to partial dentures.
- Dentures – Dentures are removable appliances that replace missing teeth and gum tissue surrounding it. They’re custom-crafted to fit your mouth shape. There are two kinds: full and partial.
Regardless of the situation, we know losing a tooth as an adult is not fun. Our team of OKC dentists is ready to help restore your smile today. Contact our team to make an appointment.