Are you missing a tooth? You’re not alone. More than 70 percent of American adults over the age of 35 are missing one or more teeth.

According to Delta Dental of Michigan, there are four common causes of tooth loss.

The most common cause of missing teeth is gum disease. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, accounts for 70 percent of missing teeth.

Another leading factor in missing teeth is dental caries, also known as cavities and tooth decay. Cavities that are left untreated can cause damage and dental abscesses that can contribute to losing a tooth.

Injury and trauma to the mouth can also cause tooth loss, as can chronic illnesses, like diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, autoimmune disease, poor nutrition and smoking, vaping and tobacco use.

Some genetic conditions also contribute to tooth loss.

If you’re missing a tooth, you may experience some difficulty biting or chewing or experience feelings of self-consciousness when you smile, laugh or are in a social setting.

But, there’s an alternative to just living with missing teeth and gaps in your smile: dental implants.

“Dental implants can help restore smiles and boost confidence,” said Dr. Ettienne van Zyl, a Rogers, Arkansas, prosthodontist.

Dental implants can help individuals who are missing teeth feel more confident because not only do dental implants fill in the gaps left by missing teeth, but they are also durable and look, feel and function just like natural teeth.

“Dental implants consist of two parts: an artificial tooth ‘root’ made of titanium or other durable metal, and a ‘crown’,” van Zyl said.

The crown portion of the tooth is screwed on to the root and is the visible tooth portion of the implant.

The root of the implant is surgically placed into the jaw bone, where it osseointegrates, or fuses, into the bone.

“This gives the implant support and stability,” van Zyl said.

Dental implants are an excellent option for tooth replacement, and with good oral hygiene practices, they can last patients many years.

“With proper care, a dental implant can last the rest of your natural life,” van Zyl said.

Another benefit to dental implants is that they can be used for patients of all ages.

“Implants are beneficial for any age and can be utilized for a variety of situations, from replacing a tooth after an injury or a tooth lost from decay,” van Zyl said.

Source: Delta Dental of Michigan. Four common causes of tooth loss. 2019.