Why Do We Lose Adult Teeth?

young surprised man covering mouthDo you remember losing your first tooth as a child? It’s ok if you don’t; some children begin losing their teeth at age four or five, younger than many adults can remember. The good thing about losing baby teeth is that their adult replacements are sturdier, stronger, and supposed to last. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Although they’re often called “permanent,” adult teeth can still be lost without proper care and maintenance, or if accidental trauma damages them severely enough. Gary, IN dentist, Dr. Nicholas Cain, explains why some patients lose one or more of their adult teeth, even though they’re meant to last a lifetime.

Tooth Infection

Cavities are the most common chronic dental disease, and are caused by an infection known as tooth decay. The infection begins when poor hygiene allows dental plaque to accumulate excessively. When you eat or drink, the bacteria in plaque turn sugar into acid that dissolves your teeth’s protective layer of enamel. Once enamel is destroyed, bacteria can slip past it to infect your tooth. Left untreated, the decay can consume the tooth’s structure, and in severe cases, the infection can destroy the tooth.

Periodontal Disease

Although periodontal disease, or gum disease, attacks your gums instead of your teeth, it remains the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the United States. Periodontal disease also begins with the excessive buildup of bacterial plaque. Rather than attacking your teeth, however, periodontal disease destroys the gums and jawbone that support your teeth. Red, swollen, and bleeding gums can warn you of early gum disease, but many patients ignore these signs and don’t seek treatment until the disease has become severe. If gum disease isn’t brought under control promptly, it can erode the foundation that supports your smile. If you opt to replace your lost teeth, then untreated gum disease can also impact the success of your dental prosthesis.

Extensive Damage

Sometimes, you can’t avoid losing a tooth. For instance, accidental trauma can knock your tooth out of its socket within your jawbone, or can damage the tooth beyond repair. If you suffer from a dental emergency, then call our office as soon as possible for an emergency dental visit. With prompt care and attention, Dr. Cain may be able to save the tooth from complete destruction or the need for an extraction.

About Nicholas Cain, DDS:

As a native of northwest Indiana, Dr. Nicholas Cain is dedicated to providing excellent cosmetic, preventive, and restorative dentistry to the community that raised him. To schedule your family’s next dental appointment, call Healthy Smiles today at 219-938-2637.