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Losing a tooth in childhood may call for the tooth fairy, but losing a tooth as an adult doesn’t come with the same excitement. It’s possible for adults to lose their permanent teeth as a result of illness or injury. If this happens to you, it’s essential to replace your tooth right away. If you don’t replace your tooth, it could lead to discomfort and further oral health issues. At Mill Dam Dental Care, we can help you replace your missing tooth and restore your smile. Here’s why you should replace a missing tooth right away and what you need to know about the process.

Why Do Adults Lose Teeth?

Adults can lose teeth for a variety of reasons. One common reason is injury. If you are involved in a car accident or sports injury that impacts your head, it could cause your tooth to fall out. This can happen even if you have otherwise-excellent oral health. 

It’s also possible to lose your teeth due to oral health conditions like periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the gums that is often caused by failing to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Malnutrition, smoking, and genetics can often contribute to periodontal disease. 

For patients that have periodontal disease, tooth loss is often preventable with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist. However, the likelihood of losing a tooth tends to increase with old age. In some cases, teeth that have been heavily damaged may need to be extracted professionally.

How Long Can I Wait to Replace a Missing tooth?

If you lose a tooth naturally, it’s important to contact the dentist right away and schedule treatment. Ideally, you will want to replace the tooth within a few days or weeks if possible. This helps prevent your remaining teeth from moving. 

If you have had teeth extracted, you can take a little more time to allow the surrounding gums and tissues to heal. Ideally, the replacement should be done four to six months after the extraction. 

If you’ve lost a tooth months or years ago and never got a replacement, we still encourage you to make an appointment to explore your replacement options. Even if it has been a long time, we can still help you replace the tooth and deal with any other oral health challenges you’ve been facing.

Why Do I Need to Replace a Missing Tooth Right Away?

There are many reasons why you should replace a missing tooth quickly. While it may not initially seem like a big deal, failing to replace these teeth can lead to further oral health complications. Here’s what can happen if you don’t replace a missing tooth quickly.

Shifting Teeth

If you don’t replace a missing tooth quickly, the other teeth around it will naturally shift to fill in the gap. When your teeth move, it can cause pain and stiffness in your jaw. This can lead to a broader loss of mobility. Shifting teeth will also change the overall look of your smile.

Lost Bone Volume

If you don’t replace your tooth quickly, it can lead to a significant loss of bone volume in your jaw. This is because your teeth actually stimulate bone growth in your jaw when you eat. Without a tooth there, there is nothing to activate the jaw underneath, and the bone will slowly wear down. 

Not only can this cause functional problems with your jaw, but it will also make it very difficult if you do choose to get implants later on. This is because implants attach directly to the jawbone. If this bone is not healthy, it will be very difficult to put a stable implant in place.

Increased Risk of Infection

Failing to replace a lost tooth can increase your risk of gum infections and other serious oral health issues. This is because it can be very difficult to clean your teeth and gums properly as they are shifting around. When bacteria builds up, it can lead to gum infection.

Difficulty Speaking or Eating

The sudden absence of a tooth will dramatically change the way your mouth feels. This can make it difficult to speak and eat normally. Depending on where the missing tooth is located, it can lead to a lisp or inability to pronounce certain words correctly. A missing tooth could also make it difficult to eat hard or chewy foods.

Lost Confidence

A missing tooth can significantly change your appearance. This leads to a loss of confidence for many people. Many adults who have lost teeth struggle to socialize or participate in their normal routines due to fear of judgment. Replacing a missing tooth right away can help you feel more confident and comfortable in your appearance.

Dental Solutions for Missing Teeth

There are many solutions available for patients who have lost teeth. These include:

  • Dental crowns: This is a replacement for the top part of the tooth. It will restore the appearance of your smile, but will not replace the roots of your tooth. This makes it a good temporary solution.
  • Dental implants: An implant consists of a metal post and a crown and is designed to replace your entire tooth. The metal post is placed into the jawbone and serves as the root of the tooth. The crown then screws onto the post using an abutment. Dental implants are carefully molded to fit your mouth and are highly durable. While dental implants do require surgery, they are a reliable permanent solution for missing teeth.
  • Dental bridges: If the teeth on either side of your missing tooth are strong, a dental bridge might be a good option for you. A dental bridge is a set of crowns that use your natural teeth as supports.
  • Dentures: If you’ve lost the majority of your teeth, dentures may be a good solution for you. Dentures are removable replacement options for multiple teeth. Dentures come in partial or full options and are customized to suit the shape of your mouth.
Why You Should Replace a Missing Tooth Right Away Tool

Replace Your Missing Tooth With Mill Dam Dental Care

If you’re in the Virginia Beach area and have lost a tooth, Mill Dam Dental Care can help. Dr. Leidy and the team will help you find a comfortable replacement option to get your smile looking and feeling great. If you have additional questions about why you should replace a missing tooth right away, get in touch today.