Most people do not want gaps in their smiles. Spaces make us self-conscious, and they cause others to make often unfair assumptions about our health, hygiene, lifestyle habits . . . even intellect and finances. Do you want to fix your missing teeth? Dr. Theodore Siegel and his team at Big Smile Dental in Chicago, IL can help, with dental implants.
How do missing teeth happen?
Some of the causes of missing teeth could surprise you:
- Hypodontia – While it can show up in any ethnic group, up to 35 percent of the population with European ancestry never get wisdom teeth. Three percent are congenitally missing premolars, and upper lateral incisors don’t come in for about two percent. Hypodontia is more common in women than men. If six or more permanent teeth are missing, the condition is known as oligodontia, and as anodontia when no natural teeth are present.
- Trauma – This is the situation most people think of with regard to losing a tooth. An elbow on the basketball court, a line drive at the plate, a stick, a puck, a fall on winter ice, or a vehicle accident can certainly knock a tooth out or damage it beyond repair. Yet teeth are also lost as a result of latent trauma. A tooth may develop symptoms – aching, discoloration, or abscess – months or even years after an injury. If the tooth is not a good candidate for root canal treatment, extraction may be necessary.
- Decay – A cavity is no big deal, right? You just get a filling. While that is often true, untreated decay can compromise a tooth to the point that there is not enough structure to support a filling or crown.
- Gum disease – Your mouth is a complex symbiosis. Soft tissues, ligaments, and bone are needed to support teeth, and teeth are necessary to maintain strong bone. Periodontal disease breaks this healthy cycle. It has become the primary cause of tooth loss in adults in this country.
- Extraction – Orthodontics is changing, but at one time, extraction was a common solution for crowding. A young patient might have as many as eight teeth removed in preparation for braces. In some cases, that created gaps after straightening.