Tooth Loss | How to cope with it

coping with tooth loss

Tooth loss can be a frightening thing as an adult. It can cause feelings from embarrassment to frustration, and leave you with a general sense of uneasiness. After all, do you know what caused the tooth loss, or if you will soon lose more? How will you be able to chew, and will it ever be possible to regain confidence? Many doctors suggest that there is a connection between TMJ and tooth loss. These are just some of the questions that many people must face as they age. Dr. James Fondriest, founder at Lake Forest Dental Arts, explains how prosthodontics can effectively treat tooth loss. So, if you have recently lost a tooth, or have one being extracted soon, don’t waste any time worrying, when you could, instead, talk to your dentist about how to effectively recover from tooth loss.

What Causes Adult Tooth Loss?

According to studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 50 percent of Americans lose at least one of their permanent teeth between the ages of 20 and 64. Their research also reveals that only about 30 percent of people between the ages of 40 and 64 will retain all their own teeth.

So, what factors lead to tooth loss among adults? Here are a few common causes:

  • Periodontal disease: The leading cause of tooth loss among adults, gum disease erodes the bone that supports the teeth.
  • Tooth decay: Some individuals are more prone to dental decay and cavities. This can compromise the structure of a tooth, making you more susceptible to damage, mobility, or tooth loss. It’s important to consume sugary, acidic foods in moderation to help reduce the risk of decay.
  • Bruxism: Constant clenching or grinding can wreak havoc on your oral health. This condition typically occurs in times of great stress, although it can also result from orthodontic misalignment or bite problems. Left unchecked, bruxism can lead to mobility and tooth loss.
  • Trauma or injury: Car accidents, sports-related injuries, or other forms of trauma can cause an adult tooth to become either partially or fully dislodged, or avulsed.
  • Tobacco use: The dangers of smoking are well-documented. Tobacco use can lead to serious overall and oral health issues. Smoking exponentially increases the risk for gum disease, thereby making patients more susceptible to mobility and tooth loss.
  • Poor oral hygiene: If the plaque and tartar are not routinely removed from the teeth surfaces, bacteria multiply. Over time, these bacteria lead to decay and gum disease, both of which can lead to serious issues, such as tooth loss.

Is It Possible to Bounce Back?

Long term chewing difficulties are common with tooth loss. Prosthodontics do, in fact, make it possible to rebound from tooth loss, by providing several effective ways to treat the condition and to functionally and cosmetically complete the smile. Sometimes treatment is one simple implant. Other times the treatment can be a very complicated prosthodontic makeover.

This is important to ensuring a patient maintains proper nutrition, but also a general sense of confidence. Therefore, prosthetic dentistry is essential in restoring the overall health, after tooth loss.

Prosthodontics for Tooth Loss

Today, there are many types of replacement teeth available. The treatment recommended for you will depend on your unique concerns and circumstances. Factors include:

  • The number of teeth missing
  • The location of the missing teeth
  • Bone density and jawbone health
  • Medical history
  • Commitment to proper oral healthcare
  • Cost or budget concerns
  • Personal dental goals

In the sections below, we will explore three of the most common tooth loss treatments and discuss the candidacy, benefits, and disadvantages of each option.


Used to replace multiple missing teeth or a full dental arch, dentures are tried and true. Usually set in a gum-colored acrylic base, denture teeth are often crafted from resin, although some patients opt for porcelain. Traditional dentures rest atop the gums for support, and are generally recommended for those who cannot – or do not wish to – undergo dental implant surgery.

Virtually anyone missing most or all of their teeth can qualify for dentures. These prostheses are more affordable compared to alternative teeth replacement options. It’s important to note, however, that dentures do not replace missing teeth roots. Therefore, jawbone atrophy can still occur over time.

Dental Bridges

Another way to fill the gap is with a dental bridgework. Bridges can help you smile after tooth loss. Dental bridges are an excellent option for those who are missing consecutive teeth. In general, most dentists agree that a conventional dental bridge can successfully replace one to three missing teeth in a row. Patients who are missing more than that may be better suited for dental implants or a partial denture.

Like dentures, dental bridges are a good option for those who do not qualify for dental implant placement. These restorations consist of two dental crowns with pontics, or artificial teeth, in between them. Once bonded to the adjacent teeth, bridges span the gap in your smile, delivering optimal function and aesthetics.

Dental Implants

Regarded as the most successful prosthodontic option on the market, dental implants are the only restorative option that replace the roots of missing teeth. This is beneficial for several reasons – primarily because the jawbone receives sufficient stimulation. As a result, the jawbone is preserved and the risk of future bone atrophy is reduced. Furthermore, implants can be restored by crowns, bridges and dentures, making them beneficial in a wide range of cases.

To qualify for dental implants, patients must have enough healthy jawbone tissue to support the posts. In many cases, eligibility for dental implants can be increased with a bone grafting procedure. Once the implants are placed into the jaw, a few months of healing are typically required before the final restoration can be added. However, most individuals agree that implants are well worth the wait. While dentures and bridges only last about seven and 15 years respectively, implants can last a lifetime with proper care.

Contact Our Chicago, IL Practice Today

Do you want a new tooth? Don’t let missing teeth keep you from the quality of life you deserve. Schedule a prosthodontics consultation with Dr. Fondriest at Lake Forest Dental Arts. We can help you determine a treatment plan to fit your goals and budget. Our team is proud to serve the metropolitan Chicago, IL area, including the Northwest and North Shore suburbs. Reach a member of our team by calling 847-234-0517.