Though the exact number isn’t available, it’s estimated that over 20 million teeth are extracted in the U.S. every year. The most common reasons for extraction are facial trauma, disease, crowding, and severe decay.
When you lose a tooth, the resulting gap in your smile becomes a perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, these bacteria dramatically increase your risk of developing gum disease, a destructive infection that can threaten your oral health without treatment.
Explore our helpful guide to learn more about gum disease and its connection to tooth loss.
What is Gum Disease?
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is an infection that develops in the soft tissues of your mouth due to a buildup of plaque and tartar. You may not experience symptoms right away, but contact your dentist immediately if you notice any of the following:
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Frequent bad breath
- Pus around your teeth
- Sores in your mouth
- Loose or separating teeth
- Receding gums that form pockets between your teeth
- Change in bite alignment
Stages of Gum Disease
There are two stages of gum disease, with the second stage being far more severe than the first. These are:
- Gingivitis — Gingivitis is the mildest stage of periodontal disease. It’s mostly caused by inadequate oral hygiene and can typically be reversed with a deep cleaning by your dentist, also known as scaling and root planing. You’ll likely feel little to no pain during this stage, but it’s essential that you seek treatment before the infection progresses.
- Periodontitis — Without treatment, gingivitis can advance to the more severe stage of periodontal disease known as periodontitis. Your gums will begin to separate from your teeth, forming infected pockets. As these pockets deepen, the bacteria produces chronic inflammation that will progressively destroy the bones and tissues supporting your teeth. At this point, surgical intervention is often necessary to prevent further damage.
How Tooth Loss Leads to Gum Disease
Though gum disease is the primary cause of tooth loss among adults, missing teeth can actually play a large role in the development of gum disease as well. After you have a tooth extracted, the empty socket is highly prone to bacteria that can threaten your oral health.
If you don’t fill this gap soon, the bacteria can spread throughout your gums and lead to infection.
Replacing a Missing Tooth
After a tooth extraction, the best way to protect yourself from gum disease is to replace the tooth as soon as possible. If you want maximum health benefits and convenience, no other restoration can match dental implants.
Dental implants offer a natural-looking, permanent solution to tooth loss. They’re comfortable, durable, easy to clean, and can last a lifetime with proper care. Unlike dentures, you also won’t have to worry about your implant falling out while you eat or speak.
To restore a single tooth, your dentist can place a titanium implant fixture in your jaw, replacing the root of your missing tooth. The fixture fuses with your jawbone in a process called osseointegration, which allows the implant to function like a natural tooth. Once your jaw is completely healed, your dentist will top the implant with a stunning porcelain crown to complete your restoration.
If you’re looking for an experienced implant provider, visit Dr. Derek Hoffman in Lincoln, NE. With his passion for dentistry and commitment to continuing education, he has all the tools to keep your smile shining for many years to come.
Replacing a Full Set of Teeth
When gum disease is allowed to spread, it leads to bone deterioration and tooth loss. As a result, if you don’t seek treatment promptly after a tooth extraction, you may end up suffering damage to your surrounding teeth. For some patients, it may even reach the point where they need a brand new set of teeth.
If this is the case, look for a qualified dentist who provides implant-supported dentures. If your jawbone lacks the density to support implants, your dentist can use the All-on-4 method to restore a full arch of teeth with just four implants. This method maximizes your available bone tissue to eliminate the need for bone grafting.
To receive All-on-4 implant dentures, visit a dentist like Dr. Roman Shlafer in Farmington Hills, MI. With over 30 years of experience, he’s established a reputation for comfortable and effective implant care.
Soft Tissue Augmentation
If you develop gum disease after a tooth extraction, it can result in receding tissues that interfere with implant placement. Thankfully, many dentists offer a supplemental procedure called soft tissue augmentation to treat your gums and prepare you for implants. The procedure involves taking healthy tissue from a donor and grafting it to the deficient areas of your gums.
If you need soft tissue augmentation to become a candidate for implants, visit Dr. Kenny Abedini in Long Beach, CA. He offers implant placement and supplemental procedures under the same roof for maximum convenience.
Guard Yourself Against Gum Disease
Gum disease is a serious condition that can wreak havoc in your mouth and increase your risk for other issues, such as heart attacks and strokes. If you have one or more missing teeth, it’s essential that you find a replacement solution as soon as possible to prevent the spread of bacteria.
Thanks to their stability and the process of osseointegration, there’s no better choice than dental implants. Visit a qualified dentist and restore your smile today to avoid the risk of gum disease.