Tooth and bone loss may happen when periodontal disease goes untreated. Gum disease causes the teeth and bones to break down or dissipate completely. Another cause of tooth loss can be from decay that has damaged most of the tooth structure. Your teeth are made of different parts: the pulp, the dentin, the enamel, and the cementum. The various stages of tooth loss all start with a little bacteria. Learn more about the process so you can avoid it.
The Stages of Tooth Loss
First signs of tooth decay
In one of the first stages of tooth loss, colored spots may appear on your teeth. They’re either white, brown, or yellow and start out in small areas of your teeth. This occurs when the enamel itself is becoming damaged from failure to remove biofilm, which is called decalcification. At this stage, decalcification may be reversible. To learn about the best treatment for your condition, speak with your dentist.
When the enamel starts decaying, the layer below the surface of your teeth starts breaking down, and your tooth becomes weaker. This is where the outer portion of your tooth can appear damaged and even break open. When caught early, decay can be treated. Remember, all decay does not hurt, and you may not be able to see it without radiographs.
Beneath the enamel is the dentin, the hard bony portion of your tooth that gives the tooth its density. If your tooth decay goes untreated in the enamel stage, it can proceed to eat away at your dentin. Once your dentin begins to break down, your teeth are at a heightened risk of breaking or fracturing. Understand that at this stage, you may not experience pain, and it is still possible to repair that tooth.
Beneath the dentin is the pulp, a series of blood vessels and living connective tissues keeping your teeth alive. The pulp provides nourishment and keeps your teeth alive and healthy. When decay reaches this area, it causes the tooth to die. This can be extremely painful for most people, but in some cases, it may happen without symptoms.
In the final stage of tooth loss, the tooth is essentially dead. Once the tooth dies, it moves into the bone and jaw. This may cause it to swell, and an abscess may form. At this stage of inflammation, your cheeks may become swollen. Your dentist may give you antibiotics to help with this infection, but more than likely, either a root canal or tooth extraction will be required.
When you lose a tooth to either periodontal disease or tooth decay, the supporting bone may be reduced as well. The surrounding teeth may shift, causing problems with your bite. It is important to learn all of your replacement options and choose the best option for your situation. Upon losing a tooth, you may experience a change in diet, a changed facial appearance, misalignment of teeth, and speech difficulty or change.
Getting Your Smile Back
Tooth and bone loss may be avoided through preventative measures like regular dental visits and proper cleaning techniques, but there are also things you can do to restore that smile once you’ve lost it. One solution is the One Step Hybrid dental implant, a restorative procedure that gives you new teeth in just one day. Call us to help you with prevention of these issues or if you are faced with tooth loss, let us help you get a healthy and happy smile back.
Balle & Associates is staffed by the most skilled and experienced general dentists in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dr. Peter Balle and Dr. Tate Guild use a personalized approach to get to know patients and offer them services specific to their needs.