Impact of Missing Teeth on Health

145 Missing Teeth – Impact of Missing Teeth on Health (4 of 5)

Causes of Missing Teeth
As children age, they start to lose their primary or baby teeth. This typically begins around the time patients start kindergarten. 32 secondary or adult teeth erupt in their place and are permanent. There are various conditions, health problems, and other issues which can result in tooth loss or put a patient at risk for tooth loss.

It is possible for the secondary teeth to never develop because of an inherited malformation of the upper or lower jawbone. This condition is called tooth agenesis. Tooth loss can also occur along with certain congenital conditions such as a cleft palate and lip or Down syndrome. The following are three types of congenitally missing teeth:
1. Hypodontia – This is the most common form of agenesis and occurs when up to five adult teeth fail to form following the loss of the baby teeth.
2. Oligodontia – Oligodontia takes place when six or more teeth are missing from agenesis.
3. Anodontia – With this condition, the secondary teeth fail to develop whatsoever. This condition is quite rare.

Gum Disease
Gum disease is another common cause for missing teeth in adults. With gum disease, spaces develop between the gums and create pockets. This can slowly result in decay of the teeth and bones in addition to tissue recession. This can ultimately lead to tooth loss. Early signs of gum disease include inflammation, redness, and bleeding gums. This is called gingivitis. The condition is typically reversible through a professional cleaning and good oral hygiene. Gum disease which remains untreated can progress into periodontitis. This form of the disease can result in serious consequences such as tooth loss.

Accidents and Trauma
Sports-related injuries, accidents, falls, and other types of trauma can also be the culprit for patients losing their teeth. If a patient damages or loses a tooth due to one of these causes, prompt care is critical and patients should visit a dentist immediately.

A patient who has lost a tooth from a fall or trauma should try to place the tooth back into its socket while they wait for treatment. The tooth can also be placed in a glass of milk or securely stored while waiting to meet with the dentist. Avoid touching an exposed root, wrapping the lost tooth in a napkin, or using any types of chemicals on the tooth.

Risk Factors
Various oral health conditions and lifestyle habits can increase a patient’s risk for losing their teeth. These risk factors included tooth decay from cavities, bad nutrition, smoking or tobacco use, limited access to dental care, and poor oral hygiene or neglect.

The following diseases put patients at an increased risk for tooth loss diabetes, heart disease, asthma, emphysema, liver problems, rheumatoid arthritis, and strokes.

Missing teeth can be caused by a wide variety of reasons. This can include genetic conditions, gum disease, injury, and trauma. Things such as tooth decay, poor nutrition, smoking, poor oral hygiene, diabetes, and heart disease all put patients at a higher risk for tooth loss.

It is critical for patients to treat missing teeth in a timely manner as it can have a negative impact on their health. Below is a summary of the potential impact associated with tooth loss:
1. Issues with chewing or swallowing
2. Dietary challenges and restrictions
3. Self-conscious
4. Misaligned bite
5. Bone loss and change in facial structure
6. Higher risk for additional tooth loss, decay, and other oral health issues

The impact of missing teeth can be serious for patients. Follow up with a dentist to discuss tooth-replacement options. Prompt treatment can help ensure the best possible outcome.