Losing a tooth is a jarring experience. We take our teeth for granted to the extent that many of us fall short when it comes to proper oral healthcare, but we never expect to actually lose a tooth. In reality, the occurrence isn’t that uncommon. Whether through accidents or poor oral hygiene choices roughly 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. Let’s look at why not to ignore tooth loss.
Why Not to Ignore Tooth Loss
Unfortunately, losing a tooth puts you at greater risk for infection, bone loss, and future tooth loss. Regardless of how you personally feel about your tooth loss, these are all excellent reasons to not ignore what’s happening in your mouth. Your cosmetic dentist in Bloomington can’t turn back the clock, but they can help you reclaim a healthy mouth and give you options for preventing future damage.
The Immediate Risks of Ignoring Tooth Loss
Regardless of the underlying cause, losing a tooth leaves an open socket that makes you highly vulnerable to infection. If you have the tooth in your possession, you should pick it up by the bite surface, rinse it in milk, and then place it in the socket until you get to your emergency dentist. It may seem strange, but this is the best way to cleanse the tooth and prevent bacteria from entering the socket while you make the drive to the dentist.
Keep in mind that losing a tooth is considered an emergency by your dentist, and you should come in immediately. Failing to come into the office right away gives bacteria a better shot at entering the open wound left by your tooth. Even if you’ve put the tooth back in the socket, the seal is not as strong as it was when your tooth was firmly rooted.
If bacteria do make their way into the socket, they have access to the tissue, blood vessels, and bone that previously supported your tooth. All three of those pathways can act as a superhighway for a potentially dangerous infection that can develop in a matter of days. The long-term consequences of ignoring tooth loss are in some ways more severe and pretty much guaranteed.
The Long-term Risks of Ignoring Tooth Loss
Each of our teeth is part of a larger supporting structure. The teeth support each other. The teeth seal the gums. The jaw supports the teeth. The teeth also tell your jaw to replace older bone tissue periodically. We call this process remodeling. And it explains how our bones can stay healthy and strong in response to regular usage. Unfortunately, if we ignore the loss of a tooth, this entire intertwining system is compromised.
Even the most rudimentary of tooth replacement options, such as a partial denture helps to shore up those co-dependent structures for a healthier mouth that is less likely to experience long-term issues. Of course, there are better options for addressing the long-term effects of permanent tooth loss, but you’ll need to discuss them with your dentist.
Options for Treating Tooth Loss
It is possible to simply seal the socket and leave the space empty. Sill this rarely proves the best choice for the patient and their future quality of life. When looking into prosthodontics in Bloomington, it’s important to balance immediate financial costs with costs over time.
This balance will be different for each patient based on their age, financial means, number of missing teeth, and current health. However, it will generally leave patients with three primary choices: dentures, a dental bridge, or dental implants. Of these, dental implants generally offer the best long-term health outcomes for patients, as they are the only option capable of continuing the remodeling process in the jawbone.
With that said, priorities can vary between patients. And you will need to make the best decision for you based on the information provided by your prosthodontist at Valley Alder.