Losing an adult tooth or teeth can affect children in so many ways — from how they eat to how they look and talk. Your children’s teeth are strong, so a dental trauma or disease significant enough to cause tooth loss is serious and potentially harmful. Children are as likely to lose a tooth from an accident as an adult.
Children are less likely, however, to lose teeth due to disease, but this is still possible. Good dental health is the best way to prevent tooth loss, schedule early and regular appointments with your dentist. In the case of accidents or when prevention fails, you may need to act quickly to help your child because the repercussions of tooth loss are severe.
Causes for Losing Teeth
Doctor Mila Cohen offer a number of common causes for tooth loss. Although they differ in frequency among adults, adolescents and children, everyone is susceptible to all. Some of the causes of tooth loss include:
- Gum (periodontal) disease. This is the leading cause of tooth loss worldwide. It’s typically caused by kids poor oral hygiene and is mostly preventable.
- Sudden trauma can knock out teeth. Additionally, such trauma is very painful for your child. Often, trauma leaves exposed roots, which are painfully sensitive.
- Tooth grinding. Grinding can wear your kid’s teeth down and loosen the root to the point that it falls out. Ask your dentist for help correcting the habit if necessary.
- Irregular dental check-ups. Regular check-ups are part of good dental care. Instill the importance of regular check-ups to your child. Show them by example, too.
- Neglecting to treat cavities. Untreated child cavities only worsen over time. They require the attention of your Jersey City kids dentist.
- Not correcting malocclusions. If you don’t correct your child’s tooth misalignment, it can cause serious wear on the teeth and ultimately tooth loss.
- If your child suffers from diabetes, he has a higher chance of suffering tooth loss. This is an important lesson to teach your child because it makes the importance of good dental hygiene even more urgent.
- This is an issue that may come up as your child hits adolescence. Discussing oral health is a great opportunity to mention how bad for your teeth smoking can be. This may have the added benefit of preventing younger kids from smoking in the future.
Common Problems Caused by Missing Teeth
Missing teeth can cause a range of complications. Contact the Dr. Mila Cohen of True Dental Care for Kids & Teens as soon as you notice an issue that may result in a missing tooth or teeth. Some of the complications that can arise from missing functional adult teeth include:
- Difficultly chewing. Missing teeth can create a large gap that makes chewing difficult. If you’re missing incisor teeth, this can cause tearing to be more difficult. With molars, it causes overall chewing difficulties.
- Supra-eruption of other teeth. This condition is when teeth come further out of the gums than they should. This exposes the roots and can cause the teeth to be very sensitive or painful.
- Other adult teeth drifting. Once there’s a gap left by a tooth, other teeth move into that space due to the lack of resistance. This can cause misalignment of your child’s entire bite, as well as other issues.
- Food accumulation. This can cause a child bad breath and infection. Special care must be taken to rid the gap of excess food when brushing.
- Dental caries. Commonly referred to as cavities, caries are small holes that are created in teeth surrounding the area of the gap. Often, caries are due to child tooth decay.
- Periodontal disease. This condition refers to infection of the gums in the area missing the teeth. This can be serious enough to cause other tooth loss and diseases. Your child dentist in Jersey City must treat periodontal disease.
- Lopsided chewing. This is an issue because it causes uneven wear on your child’s teeth.
- Loss of alveolar bone. The alveolar is the thickened part of the jawbone that contains tooth sockets and holds the teeth. In the case of missing teeth, there can be a loss of height in this bone, which can cause difficulty installing replacements later on.
- TMJ issues. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues — such as a closed bite or osteoarthritis — can manifest as jaw pain, clicking or locking, which can range from uncomfortable to painful.
- Overloading other functional teeth. This condition can lead to serious problems in wear that causes pain in your child’s other teeth.
- Cheek collapse. This can result in both cosmetic and functional issues. Increased cheek biting and an unwanted change in facial features are two common consequences of cheek collapse.
- Increased tongue biting. Because of the change in shape of your child’s overall mouth, tongue and cheek from tooth loss, biting often worsens and can result in painful sores and wounds.
- Ulceration of the area missing teeth. Ulcers are caused by poor blood flow to the gums. It is a serious condition that can result in infection in the gums with the missing teeth.
- Self-esteem issues. Missing a tooth or teeth changes the appearance of your child’s mouth and face. This can lead to self-confidence issues, which are particularly sensitive to a child or adolescent.
The list of complications caused by missing teeth is vast and serious. So take any tooth loss seriously and contact dentist immediately to prevent any further complications. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that tooth loss in a child or adolescent isn’t reason for prompt concern.
Replacing Missing Teeth
Replacing teeth is a complicated procedure and differs depending on age and mouth structure. Your kids dentist in Jersey City reviews all the different options with you to help you choose the best option for your child. Popular options include:
- Dental implants. Drilled into the jawbone, these replacement prosthetic teeth represent the most natural-looking and longest-lasting option.
- Tooth-supported bridges. A bridge is a tooth that’s attached to the crowns of surrounding teeth. It can damage the supporting teeth, which should be considered.
- Removable partial retainers. Retainers can be made to have teeth attached to them, which is a short-term solution.