It’s never ideal to lose your natural teeth. However, tooth loss does happen. In fact, a permanent tooth can fall out or need to be extracted due to severe decay or disease as well as sudden trauma or extensive damage. Regardless of how you lost a tooth or where it was located in your mouth, a missing tooth needs replacement. You don’t have to lose multiple teeth to seek restorative dentistry. The consequences of not replacing a single tooth may surprise you, and they can involve drawbacks to your oral health, your appearance as well as your overall well-being.
Whether it is a front tooth or a back molar, when a tooth goes missing, a series of unfortunate events can occur. Here are some of the most notable reasons to replace your missing tooth with a dental implant or other treatment in restorative dentistry.
#1 A Gapped Smile and Low Self-Confidence
Nothing can steal your pride like a gapped smile. In fact, a missing tooth can make you look much older than you really are. Aesthetics are one of the more obvious benefits of losing a permanent tooth.
#2 Drifting Teeth and Cleaning Challenges
After tooth loss, it is common for the surrounding teeth to migrate towards the open space over time. This can create a host of issues, including decay and gum disease. It often becomes difficult to keep your teeth and gums as clean as they need to be when they’ve shifted out of place. Keep in mind that severe gum disease can lead to further tooth loss if it goes unchecked.
#3 The Need for TMJ Therapy and/or Orthodontics
The shifting of neighboring teeth that occurs after tooth loss can present additional problems that require professional treatment. If you were avoiding the cost of tooth replacement, you should know that you could be faced with the expenses of treating jaw pain and crooked teeth caused by this misalignment. When teeth move out of position towards the open gap in your smile, it can change the way your teeth fit together when you bite down. This leads to extra strain on your jaw joint (TMJ) and can even result in the need for orthodontic correction.
#4 Eating and Speaking Limitations
Don’t dismiss the role that each of your teeth play in allowing you to chew your food and helping you speak correctly. These are everyday functions that can be compromised when just one tooth is missing from your mouth. You may experience trouble pronouncing certain syllables and words. It is also common for patients with missing teeth to avoid certain foods that their body needs for optimal health. If you are relying on a soft-foods diet that is high in carbs, you may be at risk for obesity and diabetes in the long term.
#5 Premature Facial Aging
Did you know that tooth loss leads to bone loss? Your jaw need adequate stimulation (during chewing) from your tooth roots to retain its density and form. If you are missing teeth, the jaw can begin to atrophy or resorb into the body. Consequently, the lower third of your face can change appearance and become more hallowed as more bone is lost. This is known as premature facial aging.
Why Dental Implants are the Superior Solution
While bridges, dentures and partials can fill in the gaps of your smile after missing teeth, dental implants are the only solution that can prevent bone loss. Dental implants can replace the missing tooth you see above your gum line as well as the tooth root that lies underneath. In this way, implants can stimulate your jawbone like a natural tooth and give you the stability you need to feel confident in your prosthetic tooth or teeth.
At Grateful Dental, we welcome the opportunity to restore your smile after missing teeth. Shifting teeth and bone loss can occur quickly after a natural tooth is lost. To avoid potential bone grafting and other procedures before getting teeth replacement, we recommend seeking a restorative dentist sooner rather than later after tooth loss. Our Marietta dental clinic can treat your entire family, from the young child who is getting his first tooth to the aging parent who is losing theirs.