Tooth loss doesn't have to happen to you! Here's how to keep your smile intact

We want our smiles to last forever - but, unfortunately, we don't always get what we want. While advances in preventive care, modern dentistry, and patient education have helped lend teeth longer lives, tooth loss is still a widespread epidemic. If you take action today, you can help yourself avoid this fate.

Learning more about the risk factors involved in losing adult teeth, as well as the common causes of tooth failure, will help you take the offensive track. Be proactive and keep your smile in the shape you'd like to see it in. If you ever have questions about your home care, or would like to schedule your next dental exam, just get in touch. Visiting Dr. Kim every six months will go a long way toward preventing significant dental problems down the road.

Risk Factors for Tooth Loss

Certain aspects of your body, habits, or systemic health will impact your likelihood of losing a permanent tooth. While you can't change some of these, others are completely avoidable - we offer some tips below.

The most pressing risks for losing teeth affect patients who are:

  • Older than 35
  • Male
  • Not receiving regular dental care, or who have never received dental care - If you weren't taken to the dentist as a child, you're far less likely to start pursuing dental exams as an adult. Part of this is a lack of knowledge about the benefits of preventive care (and if you have no experience with exams, you have no evidence that they make a difference), part is dental anxiety, and part is a concern with the financial aspects of treatment.
  • Not brushing their teeth - It's no question: oral hygiene is vital to the life of your smile. Brushing removes bacteria before it can form plaque, the film of organisms that leads to decay and gum disease. You should brush every day - ideally, in the morning and at night (if not more often).

  • Smoking or using chewing tobacco - Tobacco use is a tough habit to quit, but it's always possible. The sooner you leave it behind, the better chance you have of retaining your teeth. Look into online resources to begin your journey.

  • Diabetic

Patients who have high blood pressure or rheumatoid arthritis are also more likely to see tooth loss in their lifetimes. While we're unsure of the precise link between these diseases and your mouth, experts predict that it might lie in the inflammation that these problems cause.

The definitive study that identified these risks also found that front teeth are more likely to be lost to gum disease than molars - which is especially difficult for patients, since your incisors are such a crucial part of your smile.

Primary Reasons for Losing Teeth

  • Periodontal disease - Gum disease is the top cause of tooth loss - and it doesn't have to affect you. Periodontal issues are far more treatable if you catch them in their early stages (typically, gingivitis). If you notice your gums have become inflamed, darker in color, bloody, or tender, then contact us right away.

  • Abscess - If a cavity makes its way to your tooth's pulp (when decay is allowed to progress past your enamel and dentin), it can cause an infection at the tooth root and impact your jaw bone. While a root canal can sometimes treat an abscess, the tooth may need to be entirely removed.
  • Trauma - A blow to the mouth (or long-term damage like that caused by grinding) can damage a tooth beyond repair, and cause the bone beneath the tooth's root to resorb (dissolve), removing its support system.
  • Congenital absence - It's also possible to find that a permanent tooth does not erupt. It's important that you place an implant or restoration in that space to preserve your overall bite and oral health.

What to Do if You Lose a Tooth

Whether you're hoping to avoid tooth loss, or looking to replace a foregone tooth, we're here to help. Arrange a consultation to learn more.

Dr. Kim Dr. Kim

Dr. Kim Okamura

I'm Dr. Kim Okamura and this blog is a product of my love of dentistry. I dedicate it to all the patients I have served so that they may better understand my craft. The information here will give you and others the power to maintain and protect one of your most priceless gifts ... your SMILE.