|Tooth Loss | Missing Teeth|
Tooth loss is a term used when one or more teeth fall out or are extracted most usually due to dental diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease, or due to tooth injuries or mouth trauma. The medical term for the condition of missing teeth, as a result of tooth loss, is edentulism. Loss of only some teeth is termed as partial edentulism, while when all teeth are missing it is called complete edentulism.
The main possible causes of tooth loss include:
Several factors have been found to increase the risk of tooth loss, such as some medical conditions, pregnancy, bruxism, lack of dental care, dental fear, poor finances and many other.
Being edentulous has been considered as a natural condition for the elderly until some decades ago. However, the progress of dental science and improved public awareness have shown that tooth loss is not an unavoidable effect of aging. The percentage of the population that is edentulous is steadily decreasing in all age groups, mainly due to better access to dental care and improved treatments for tooth decay and gum disease.
The following statistics about missing teeth and edentulism in United States, are based on National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2004
Num of missing teeth
20 to 34 years
5.10 missing teeth
35 to 49 years
6.95 missing teeth
50 to 64 years
9.70 missing teeth
65 to 74 years
12.66 missing teeth
13.64 missing teeth
Although we typically associate tooth loss with older age, over 25% of the population has lost at least one tooth until the age of 30. Regular visits to the dentist for cleanings twice a year and good oral hygiene are the most important factors that can help you retain your teeth for all your life.
Having lost several or all permanent teeth can have significant consequences on the patient’s overall health, both physical and psychological. Physical effects of tooth loss include the weakening of any remaining teeth, jaw bone loss, facial collapse, TMJ disorders, chewing and nutrition problems. Social and psychological effects of tooth loss are also important. Tooth loss can cause social embarrassment, anxiety and speech problems, decrease self-esteem and increase emotional stress.
Missing teeth negatively affect the patient’s general health and quality of life. Dentists recommend that all missing teeth have to be replaced to prevent more dental and health problems in the future.
Tooth loss is basically a problem when it refers to permanent teeth, as primary teeth (baby teeth) are supposed to fall out any way and give their place to the permanent teeth. However in some cases the loss of a primary tooth can also cause problems, especially if it is lost too early.
There are three possible tooth replacement options if you have lost one or more teeth: dental bridges, dentures (full or partial) and dental implants.
Which tooth replacement option will be used depends on the number of missing teeth to replace, the condition of any remaining teeth, the aesthetic requirements of the patient and the cost of the treatment.