How Serious is Losing a Permanent Tooth?

Older man contemplating dental implantsWhen you lose a permanent tooth, the seriousness you attribute to the situation is probably directly related to where that new gap lay. A missing molar won’t show too prominently, so the need to replace that tooth doesn’t seem as important. A tooth lost from the front of the mouth will show every time we speak or smile, therefore we consider the problem more urgent. Cosmetic concerns aside, losing a permanent tooth from anywhere in the mouth can set the stage for progressively worse oral health issues as you age. Today, we’re taking a measured look at how seriously you should treat tooth loss (and its causes and effects) and what steps you can take to restore your oral health.

Considering the Cause of Your Tooth Loss

Tooth loss doesn’t happen in a vacuum. If you lost a tooth to advanced gum disease or severe decay (the two most common causes of adult tooth loss in the U.S.), then your oral health situation has been in bad shape for a while. Just because one problem tooth goes away doesn’t mean your smile’s in the clear. For instance, a severely decayed tooth may break off at the gum line, leaving the infected roots in place. Infection can spread easily to nearby teeth and jaw bone via a root infection. Likewise, critical gum inflammation that has loosened a tooth to the point that it needs to be extracted is likely to have already affected the surrounding teeth. Left untreated, gum disease will probably claim more teeth.

A Two-Part Approach to Tooth Loss

If an oral disease has cost you a tooth, then treating that disease is your first course of action. Once the disease has been managed through clinical treatment and ongoing at-home maintenance, you should speak to your dentist about replacing your missing tooth or teeth. Dental implant retained crowns and dentures provide a secure and long-lasting replacement option, although traditional solutions like dental bridges and removable dentures are certainly viable.

About Shawn Hofkes, DDS

With advanced training in oral and maxillofacial surgery and certification in oral and IV sedation, Shawn Hofkes, DDS is qualified to provide advanced dentistry services for new and returning patients from our state-of-the-art dentist office in Cerritos, CA. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.