Losing a tooth as an adult is not quite as magical as it was when you were a kid and the tooth fairy would leave money under your pillow. You can lose a permanent tooth because of a crack, decay, or infection, and the process can be stressful. Most people assume they will not lose any adult teeth, but around 178 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one permanent tooth.
How to React
While an immediate reaction may be to panic, there are plenty of solutions available that can help restore your teeth without affecting your appearance or your smile. Replacing the missing tooth is important. It not only will restore the appearance of your smile, it can also help maintain the health of your remaining teeth.
Follow these tips if you lose a permanent tooth:
- Schedule an appointment with a dentist or oral surgeon. Some people avoid going to the dentist after they lose a tooth if they fear it will require extensive dental work. Visiting a dental professional as soon as possible after you lose a permanent tooth can help prevent the issue from becoming a bigger problem that might affect more teeth.
- Decide on a replacement. The dentist will provide you with several options for replacing the tooth. A removable bridge or denture is relatively inexpensive and can keep the other teeth from drifting into the vacant spot. A fixed bridge fills the area with a false tooth, leaving a permanent solution, while an implant uses a titanium root to fill the missing tooth and can function as a real tooth.
- Meet with an oral surgeon. Your dentist will likely refer you to an oral surgeon who can further discuss your options. Depending on the location of the missing tooth, an oral surgeon can advise you on which replacement option will work best.
- Avoid using the area. Follow the advice of your oral surgeon to avoid any infection or further damage to your mouth or remaining teeth. Avoid chewing on the area to prevent damage to your gums, and get fitted with a replacement as soon as possible.
Try to Keep Calm
No matter the reason you find yourself with a missing tooth, it is important to keep calm. If the tooth fell out due to trauma, panicking can cause excessive bleeding and avoidable damage. While the situation may seem life changing, options are available to restore your healthy smile.