Missing teeth are, unfortunately, a common issue that can negatively affect your quality of life. The American College of Prosthodontists estimates that 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth.
What are the adverse effects missing teeth have on your health, and how can restorative methods, like tooth implants, restore your smile and your dental health?
1. Bone deterioration
Like other cells, bones have a lifecycle in which cells form and dissolve. New bone cells in the jaw are formed with force generated by chewing. But, if your teeth are missing, this force cannot be activated, and as your bone cells die, no new ones are created. A weakened jaw, in turn, leaves your teeth weaker and cannot support your facial structure.
2. Negatively affect facial structure
As your jaw and supporting bone structure weakens, you may notice your skin begins to sag around your mouth. When your skin sags, you can look years older than you actually are.
3. Moving teeth
Missing just one tooth for an extended period can cause your other teeth to shift into the remaining space. This shifting causes unsightly and unnecessary gaps and even increases the likelihood of tooth decay because your teeth become more challenging to clean when they are crooked.
4. Additional tooth loss
A healthy jawbone keeps teeth in their place. But, as its condition becomes worse, the bone can begin to lose its grip on nearby teeth, causing them to loosen, and eventually fall out.
5. Issues eating and speaking
Missing teeth can have a significant effect on your eating abilities since, without teeth, you cannot fully bite down.
When it comes to speaking, some of our teeth, particularly the front few teeth, are essential to forming specific sounds and words. If these teeth are missing, it could impact your ability to pronounce certain words.
Lower confidence levels
Probably one of the most obvious results of missing teeth is the feeling of lost confidence. With noticeable gaps, especially those near the front of the mouth, you may feel like you have to hide your smile.
Even if you have been living without a tooth for years, there are steps you can take to replace the missing tooth and improve your oral health as a whole.
What tooth replacement options are available?
Depending on how many teeth are missing, as well as their location and your overall health, different restorative dentistry techniques may be a better option.
Dental implants are the most secure and long-term replacement option for missing teeth. Dental implants, also called tooth implants, are fabricated artificial teeth that are fused into your jawbone with the help of a titanium screw. The major benefit of tooth implants is that they also help retain your bone structure, preventing further health issues.
If you still have remaining teeth, bridges are a great way to close gaps between your teeth for a better smile. Bridges include two crowns that are attached to neighboring healthy teeth with new artificial teeth in the middle. The artificial replacements act as normal teeth and help you to eat and speak as normal.
Full or partial dentures
Dentures are the least invasive tooth restoration option available in dentistry today but do not have all the added benefits of implants. Today’s dentures are highly realistic and can help restore the aesthetic facet of your smile.
The best way to avoid losing teeth is to practice preventative dentistry. At home, practice a rigid oral health regimen of brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing and using an antibacterial mouthwash.
Regular visits to your dentist for check-ups and cleanings can keep your oral health in check and enable your hygienist and dentist to identify any issues early before they become more complex and expensive.
If you have one or more missing teeth and are seeking a solution, contact Owen’s Cosmetic and Family Dentistry in Farmington Hills at 248-716-8623.