Tooth decay

This is one of the commonest causes of missing teeth. Tooth decay and gum disease are very common in both adults and children and usually develop as a result of poor dental hygiene.

Causes of tooth decay

A diet high in sugar or sweet things combined with an inadequate dental care routine will almost certainly result in tooth decay (or dental caries) which then leads to tooth loss.

Once a tooth has become decayed this damage then spreads into the nerve or down towards the root. This causes pain and discomfort or ‘toothache’.

But there is also the risk of the tooth becoming infected due to bacteria which may then lead to an abscess. A tooth abscess is an extremely painful condition which can be dangerous if left untreated.

Severe tooth decay and tooth loss

A badly decayed tooth will require root canal treatment to replace the damaged nerve but a severely decayed tooth may be beyond this treatment. In these cases removal or ‘extraction’ of the tooth is the only solution.

The removal of a tooth is usually a last resort. In most cases of tooth decay a filling or crown will suffice although root canal treatment will be required if the damage has spread inside the tooth.

Dentists prefer to try to save a decayed tooth rather than removing it as this causes fewer problems. But if the decay is in an advanced stage and has all but destroyed the tooth then it will be extracted. Plus this also prevents the infection from spreading any further.

Dental hygiene and tooth loss

This is why it is so important to look after your teeth. Tooth decay is common but can be prevented by following a daily dental hygiene routine.

Brushing twice a day, reducing your intake of sweet or sugary foods and regular dental check ups will minimise the risk of tooth decay and subsequent tooth loss.