Dental emergencies can occur in a variety of ways, and in extreme cases, can involve sudden tooth loss. However, replacing a lost tooth isn’t usually an immediate procedure, requiring thorough preparation to ensure that the replacement tooth is perfectly designed to look and function like the real thing.
Given the common waiting period between tooth loss and tooth replacement, many patients may wonder if tooth loss is technically considered an emergency. Today, we explain why tooth loss, regardless of its underlying cause, should always be addressed as soon possible.
How Was the Tooth Lost?
Although meant to be permanent, adult teeth are often lost due to accidental trauma, or a severe dental disease that’s allowed to develop in the midst of poor oral hygiene. In some cases, a tooth may be compromised thoroughly enough that extracting and replacing it is the only option.
Traumatic injury can loosen and damage the connective ligaments that hold teeth in their sockets, causing the teeth to fall out. If the tooth is recovered and you seek immediate treatment, then your dentist can often replant the knocked-out tooth, allowing periodontal ligaments to heal and reconnect with its root. In cases of severe gum disease, the gums and jawbone that support the tissue are eroded by a destructive infection, and by the time the tooth is lost, replanting it is not an option.
How to Handle Tooth Loss
If dental disease is the reason behind your tooth loss extraction, then the tooth cannot be replaced until the condition is successfully treated. As progressive issues, dental diseases continue to destroy infected tissue until dealt with, and replacement teeth won’t succeed if they remain present. Once your mouth is healthy (aside from the missing tooth or teeth), you’ll have a choice of tooth replacement options.
For a single lost tooth, a dental crown supported on a dental implant can provide a lifelike tooth replacement that mimics a natural tooth’s root-and-crown construction. Multiple lost teeth may require a dental bridge, partial denture, or full denture, all of which can be supported on an appropriate number of dental implants for optimal function and comfort.