Edentulism, or tooth loss, is irreversible and often the final result of dental disease (Emami, Freitas de Souza, Kabawat, & Feine, 2013). Edentulism affects approximately 9 million people in the United States, with 25% of adults over 60 years of age experiencing tooth loss (Emami et al., 2013). Partial edentulism can be defined as the loss of at least one tooth or multiple teeth; complete edentulism is defined as the loss of all teeth. Missing teeth can cause adjacent teeth to drift or rotate. Additionally, poor occlusion (bite) due to missing teeth can cause unnecessary strain on remaining teeth and the temporomandibular (TMJ) joint resulting in cracked teeth and
Tooth loss can occur for several reasons including periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay (cavities), or trauma. Good oral hygiene, such as twice daily brushing and once daily flossing, can significantly reduce your chances of developing periodontal disease or tooth decay. You can further reduce your risk of tooth decay with a diet low in sugar and/or carbohydrates. Additionally, it is important to see your dentist regularly for early diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease or tooth decay. Prompt treatment of dental disease is important to prevent progression to the point of tooth loss. Even with all these precautions, edentulism can still occur due to trauma. A properly fitted mouthguard can protect your teeth from trauma when playing sports or from trauma related to clenching/grinding.
Multiple options exist from treatment of edentulism including implants, bridges, and dentures. Dental implants are an excellent choice to replace one or multiple teeth, are the most like a natural tooth, and have the best long-term prognosis. Bridges are another solution for replacing missing teeth. This procedure requires preparing the teeth adjacent to the site of the missing tooth and then permanently cementing the bridge. A bridge requires daily flossing under the replacement or “fake” tooth. Partial and complete dentures are removable appliances to replace
missing teeth. They are the most cost-effective option; however, they are often the most difficult to tolerate and may require several adjustments to continue adequate use. It is important to remove and clean dentures nightly to maintain proper oral health. In some cases, implant retained dentures may be an option for a more secure fit. Please visit the links below for further information on implants, bridges, and dentures.
Dr. Jeffrey Scott and his team can help you prevent edentulism through regular examinations and early diagnosis of dental disease concerns. Examinations are recommended every six months for individuals with good oral health or more frequently for individuals with existing dental disease concerns such as periodontal disease. Dr. Scott is very skilled in all aspects of edentulism treatment including implants, bridges, and dentures. Additionally, Dr. Scott can custom fit mouth guards for tooth protection to prevent tooth loss. Don’t hesitate to contact Crystal Coast Dentistry with any questions on edentulism or to schedule your consultation to replace missing
Reference: Emami, E., Freitas de Souza, R., Kabawat, M., & Feine, J. S. (2013). The impact of edentulism on oral and general health. International Journal of Dentistry, 2013(498305), 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/498305