Dental Health Prosthodontisis

Tooth loss in adults; causes, prevention and treatment

Tooth loss is majorly represented by the gap in between your teeth or that whole missing segment one may have on one or both jaws. It might have happened after an accident, a fight, or due to a delay in preventive or restorative dental treatment.

Common causes of tooth loss in adults

The most common causes of tooth loss in adults are:

  • Dental caries
  • Gum disease
  • Traumatic experiences like road traffic accidents

Dental caries

dental caries treatment in kenya
A section of anterior teeth affected by dental caries. Photo: House of Dentistry

Commonly known as cavities, dental caries is a progressive disease that destroys tooth structure. It is caused by bacteria acting on food stuck on the tooth surface. It first appears as a whitish discoloration then proceeds to change to a dark brown color. Sensitivity and food getting stuck in the cavities are the first symptoms of the disease. If untreated or ignored, sensitivity increases and progresses to pain.

Treatment of dental caries begins with prevention. Brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste is the best way to prevent dental caries.

Dental floss is also essential in one’s daily oral hygiene regimen. Flossing helps remove that piece of meat or cake stuck in between your teeth.

Visiting the dentist at least once a year helps spot any tooth with cavities. The dentist may employ the following treatment regimen:

  • Oral prophylaxis
  • Fluoride application
  • Pit and fissure sealants
  • Fillings
  • Root canal treatment
  • Extraction
  • Replacement of teeth that have been extracted.

Gum disease

Gum diseases really affect the supporting structure of the teeth. Commonly affecting many Kenyans is gingivitis and with further progression, it leads to periodontitis

Gingivitis and periodontitis are caused by plaque which is a mixture of food, saliva, and bacteria. Plaque appears as a yellowish substance on the surface of the teeth. If not removed by brushing, it hardens to form calculus. Calculus is the hard yellow or brown substance that you find near the gum. It is difficult to remove calculus by brushing at home. A visit to the dentist is therefore advised.

Gum Disease
View of how gum disease exposes the root of the tooth. If untreated, this leads to tooth loss. Photo: Courtesy

Some common signs of gum disease are; bleeding gums, swollen gums, bad breath, and mobile teeth. Anyone with these symptoms is advised to see a dentist where the following can be done:

  • Oral prophylaxis
  • Fluoride application
  • Scaling (cleaning ) and polishing
  • Splinting of mobile teeth
  • Extraction of mobile teeth
  • Replacement of teeth
  • Surgeries of the gingiva


A fall, hard object, or someone’s fist may make you lose a tooth or two. Tragic occurrences like road accidents, bomb attacks, and house falls may also lead to loss of teeth.

Depending on the severity of tooth damage, a dentist may help in the following ways;

  • Fillings
  • Root canal treatment
  • Posts
  • Crowns and bridges
  • Partial dentures
  • Dental implants

If you are active in sports, we recommend you consider wearing a mouthguard every time you get in action to help safeguard your teeth.

Other tooth-loss risk factors

People suffering from chronic illnesses like diabetes, arthritis, and cancer are also at risk of tooth loss. Proper oral hygiene and a visit to the dentist are recommended to all chronically ill patients.

If you have one or more missing teeth, it’s time you make up your mind for a smile transformation, and let’s fix your smile by closing that gap with our diverse teeth replacement options.

Dental Health

How is pregnancy associated with gum disease and dental cavities?

Did you know that some factors can make pregnant women predisposed to a range of dental issues such as gum disease and dental cavities?

Unfortunately, due to mythical information – most women are worried about going to the dentist when pregnant.

Hormonal changes when pregnant and their impact on oral health

Pregnant women have many hormonal changes that make them susceptible to:

  • Swollen gums that bleed easily (a condition called pregnancy gingivitis)
  • Cravings that cause them to constantly snack and take sugary substances
  • Morning sickness that may cause vomiting. This leads to acid reflux that can erode the tooth surfaces and destroy the teeth.
  • Difficulty in brushing teeth, which leads to a poor oral hygiene

They also tend to have increased bacteria in the mouth due to

  • Frequent snacking
  • Unstable hormones
  • Decreased immunity.

What is this swelling on my gum that is causing gum changes in my mouth?

swelling on gum
Photo: Courtesy

This could be a condition called pyogenic granuloma. It is a tumor-like growth on the gum that easily bleeds when irritated. It appears pink to red in color and mostly occurs during the first trimester and increases throughout for about 7 months.

What is the treatment?

Most of them resolve after pregnancy but some may require a minor surgery called surgical excision by your dentist to remove it.

Are dental procedures safe during pregnancy?

It is recommended to have dental procedures during the 2nd trimester.

However routine procedures like fillings and teeth cleaning (full mouth scaling) are safe and can be done at any point during your pregnancy.

dental emergencies kenya
Do not suffer with dental emergencies just because you are pregnant. /Courtesy

However one shouldn’t suffer from a painful tooth. dental emergencies with severe pain/discomfort that may require extraction or root canal treatment can be done with caution by a dentist.

Surgical treatment like excision of growths, disimpaction, etc. can be postponed till after delivery of the baby.

Did you know pregnant women with gum disease have a very high risk of getting preterm low birth weight babies? Gum disease must never be tolerated!

Are dental radiographs harmful?

dental x-ray when pregnant
An OPG (Orthopantomagram) is a panoramic scanning dental X-ray of the upper and lower jaw. Perfectly healthy adult teeth. /Courtesy

Dental radiographs are only used when necessary for diagnosis and treatment. Currently, we have advanced technology in dentistry with x-ray machines that have reduced radiation.

Imagine this – a dental x-ray has a radiation dosage of 0.1mrem, a chest x-ray is at (10-40) mrem and the average radiation in the atmosphere is at 50mrem? Therefore the radiation exposure is very minimal but we still take necessary precautions!

Even with the minimal radiation present, we always have pregnant women who come in for dental procedures wear a lead apron to protect their vital organs and the growing fetus.

What are our recommendations for pregnant women?

  • Honor your dental checkups annually to assess and treat any dental issues early before they become dental emergencies
  • Maintain brushing twice a day and flossing daily to maintain good oral health and reduce pathogenic bacteria in the mouth
  • If you have to take candy, take sugar-free-gum
  • Eat well-balanced meals especially with calcium, vitamins, and folic acid. Some women in fact need calcium supplements.
  • If vomiting frequently, rinse with water or a mouth rinse to reduce acid erosion on the teeth

What are our recommendations for infants?

dental health for infants
Bottle feeding or pacifiers for infants at night should be avoided.

Take your baby for a dental checkup after the eruption of the first tooth. The dentist will assess the teeth structure, oral hygiene of the baby, and any congenital issues present for appropriate action.

  • Do not share spoons or cutlery with your child to avoid transmission of bacteria
  • Bottle feeding or pacifiers at night should be avoided.
  • Dilute juices with water to minimize the exposure of their teeth to sugar.

In case you wish to consult with us, our team is always ready to be of service. Book an appointment on our calendar and visit to experience our quality and accessible dental healthcare for every member of your family.

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