Do you remember losing your first tooth as a child? For some children, the experience is exciting, for others it can be a bit frightening. In either case, it was a milestone, and (hopefully) all of your primary teeth gave way to their stronger, permanent replacements. While your adult teeth are designed to last a lifetime, they aren’t indestructible, and many patients lose one or more permanent teeth due to lack of proper dental hygiene and care. Your Ankeny dentist, Dr. Ryan Hussong, explains some of the common reasons behind permanent tooth loss and how you can help prevent it.
Over 90% of adults in the United States have experienced a cavity in at least one of their permanent teeth. The small holes in your tooth’s structure are caused by advancing tooth decay. When left untreated, decay can reach the center of your tooth and spread to surrounding tissues through the roots. In severe cases, extracting the infected tissue may not suffice to save the tooth, and extraction may be your only option.
Although tooth decay directly affects your tooth, severe gum disease destroys your mouth’s ability to retain natural teeth. As the leading cause of adult tooth loss, gum disease affects fewer people than tooth decay (approximately 70% of adults under the age of 60), but is more efficient at rendering your smile toothless. The first stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis, involves red, inflamed, and bleeding gums resulting from excessive bacterial plaque buildup. As it progresses, the infection destroys the tissue that surrounds and protects the roots of your teeth, eventually infecting your jawbone and leading to tooth loss.
Prevent or Treat Tooth Loss with Help from Your Ankeny Dentist
Though different in nature, tooth decay and gum disease share a similar source—excessive dental plaque—and preventing both diseases requires diligent hygiene and oral health care. Be sure to brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, preferably before bedtime, and visit our office at least once every six months for a comprehensive dental checkup and cleaning. To learn more, or to attend your next dental exam, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ryan Hussong by calling your Ankeny dentist’s office at (515) 984-6001. Located in the 50226 area, Cornerstone Dental proudly welcomes families from Des Moines, Polk City, Ames, Ankeny, Alleman, Bondurant, Grimes, Johnston, and the surrounding communities.