- Understand what causes a rotten tooth
- Explore treatment options to replace a lost tooth
- Learn how to prevent tooth decay and reduce the risk of tooth loss
What causes a tooth to fall out?
While the growth of new permanent teeth is the reason children lose baby teeth, what can contribute to the loss of an adult tooth? When it comes to adult tooth loss, the number one reason in the United States is periodontal disease or gum disease. As this condition destroys gum tissue and bone in the jaw, the security of your teeth becomes compromised, making them more prone to falling out. In addition to gum disease, excessive tooth decay can also contribute to the death of a tooth, making it more susceptible to falling out.
Other potential causes have nothing to do with your oral health or oral hygiene routine and can include direct injury or trauma to the tooth, such as a hit to the mouth while playing sports. Underlying medical conditions that can affect the health of the entire body, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and smoking, can also increase the risk of loose teeth and the potential loss of teeth.
What to do when you lose a rotten tooth?
When it comes to saving a tooth that has fallen out of the mouth, there are occasions where the healthy tooth can be re-implanted into the gums. If this is the case, you want to find the tooth that fell out and pick it up by the crown of the tooth, avoiding contact with the root. If possible, try to put the tooth back into its location in the gums and seek dental care immediately. If you are unable to re-implant the tooth, rinse and store the tooth in a cup of milk and get in to see your dentist immediately.
Unfortunately, if the tooth that fell out is extremely decayed or considered dead, it may not be possible to save and re-implant the tooth and you will need to consider other treatment options.
Symptoms of a rotten tooth
A rotten tooth is a tooth that is badly decayed and often requires treatment with a root canal in order to save the tooth before it naturally falls out. Early signs of extreme dental decay and a rotting tooth can include:
- Teeth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, as well as sweet and sour foods
- Bad breath
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth
- A toothache
- Tooth discoloration
- A tooth abscess
Causes of rotten teeth
Rotten teeth most often occur as a result of poor oral hygiene, however, that is not the only reason a tooth can rot and decay, eventually leading to tooth death and the risk of it falling out.
Your mouth is naturally full of bacteria. While some bacteria are helpful to the body, others work to destroy your teeth. Bacteria combine with starch and sugars from the foods you eat to create plaque. This plaque begins to eat away the minerals in your tooth enamel, eventually making its way into the dentin and the nerves and roots of your tooth, increasing your risk of becoming a completely decayed tooth that results in tooth loss if left untreated.
In addition to decay, trauma can also contribute to tooth rot. When a blunt force is directed at a tooth, it can severe the blood vessels that transport blood to the affected tooth, leading to tooth death. This may not be noticeable before it is too late and, despite the best oral hygiene routine, will cause a rotten tooth or teeth to occur.
If a rotten tooth is unable to be re-inserted, then you need to consider your tooth replacement options. While missing one tooth may not seem like a big deal, the fact is that open space can negatively affect all of your surrounding teeth. Neighboring teeth will shift position as they have room to spread. This can result in changes to your tooth alignment and can affect your ability to chew. Some common tooth replacement options include:
- Root canal treatment: If only part of your rotten tooth fell out, there is a possibility that the remaining tooth can be saved through a root canal treatment. With this treatment, the infected pulp of the tooth is removed and sealed, and a crown is put in place.
- Fixed bridge: For this replacement option, crowns are placed on the neighboring teeth and attached to a replacement tooth that fills the space of the missing tooth.
- Dental implants: For this replacement option, a titanium frame is placed in the jaw and attaches to a tooth replacement.
Removable partial dentures: A partial denture is another option to replace a missing tooth. This dental appliance slips into place in order to fill the gap of a missing tooth.
The good news is there are things that you can do to help reduce your risk of tooth loss. While you may think that routine brushing and flossing is all you need, the truth is that is just the beginning. The following prevention tips will help you reduce your risk of tooth loss.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day
- Use a mouthwash rinse both in the morning and evening
- Don’t forget to clean your tongue to remove additional oral bacteria
- Visit your dentist every six months for routine checkups and care
- Address any signs of decay or gum disease immediately
- Stop or limit smoking
- Wear a protective mouthguard when playing contact sports
- Limit sugary foods in your diet
Addressing your overall oral health
Regardless of the reason behind your tooth loss, it is important to take the care needed to save your tooth if possible. However, your better course of action is to follow the prevention tips and reduce your risk of tooth decay, injury, and tooth loss.
Maintaining good oral health begins with us
The team at New Leaf Rohnert Park is here to be a member of your oral health support team. With a good oral hygiene routine and regular dentistry checkups with our dental team, you can greatly reduce your risk of rotten teeth and tooth loss. To learn more about our team and the services we provide, schedule an appointment today.