Every person undergoes the process of tooth loss. Children with their baby teeth (deciduous teeth) will eventually have these teeth become loose and fall off. This will then be replaced by whitish teeth, called the permanent teeth. Generally, these are the teeth that we see in adults. However, when adults start losing their permanent teeth, it is usually due to an injury to the head, particularly the mouth, or results from an oral disease. The condition of having one or more missing teeth is edentulism.
Tooth loss can happen to anyone. However, there are certain factors that can make a person more susceptible to losing their teeth, such as:
- Gender – males are more likely to lose their teeth
- 35 years old and above
- Absence of professional dental care
- Never using a toothbrush
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Smoking cigarettes
Causes of tooth loss
Tooth loss can be caused by plenty of instances. Avoiding these circumstances or being more cautious about them can help avoid tooth loss. Some of the common causes include:
- Poor oral hygiene – not brushing teeth and flossing regularly can lead to the development of oral diseases
- Dental diseases – gum or periodontal diseases are the most common oral diseases that lead to gum infection
- Trauma or injury – contact sports, car accidents and physical violence
- Poor habits – grinding of tooth (bruxism) can lead to fracture of the tooth
- Poor nutrition – diet rich in carbohydrates, sugars and acids can lead to tooth decay
- Finances – avoidance of professional dental care because presumed to be costly
- Having a dentist phobia
- Congenital absence – lack of a permanent tooth that grows to replace the loss of baby tooth
First aid management
There are several ways to manage a tooth loss. These first aid tips can help take care of the damaged tooth. Learn how to administer first aid by joining First Aid Courses.
- If the tooth is only loose but still attached to the gums, do not attempt to remove. Keep it in place.
- If the tooth is still inside the mouth but already out of the socket, leave it inside the mouth, if possible. Do this until a professional is met.
- If the tooth is out of the mouth, minimize contact and handle carefully. Touch only the crown (top part) of the tooth when handling.
- Do not rinse off the tooth, no matter where it was found. This is done to avoid killing the living tissue that is essential for re-implantation. Only rinse if absolutely necessary.
- Try to reinsert the permanent tooth into the correct socket and ask the individual to bite on a sterile gauze pad to keep the tooth in place.
- If the tooth cannot be reinserted in the mouth, do not let the tooth dry out. Place the fallen tooth in between the cheek and the gum. If this is also not possible, place it inside a container with whole milk.
- If bleeding is present, use sterile gauze to control the bleeding.
- To reduce pain and swelling, apply a cool compress. Take over-the-counter pain medications.
After the initial first aid steps are done to manage the tooth loss, there are several treatments that can be done with the affected tooth. Re-implantation, fixed bridge, dental implants, and partial or complete dentures are some of them.
Tooth loss is common for children but when it happens to adults, it is caused by injury or disease.