What Happens When You Wait to Replace Missing Teeth
Why should you replace your missing teeth?
Tooth loss is not uncommon. It tends to be more common after middle age. In fact, by age 50, the average American adult has lost 12 permanent teeth, according to Harvard Medical School. Typical causes are gum disease, injury, and tooth decay.
Tooth loss is more than a cosmetic problem. Even if you feel like you're doing pretty well without replacing them, not doing so can significantly impact your physical and oral health. It can affect everything from the food you eat to the health and structure of your jaw.
While there is no shortage of modern treatment options, such as dental implants, dentures, and bridges, some people choose not to replace missing teeth.
Is it vital to replace missing teeth?
Replacing missing teeth is essential to regaining confidence in your smile, and it's also key to maintaining dental health and a fully functional bite.
Your teeth are held in place by tooth roots, jaw tissue, gums, and other teeth. Once you lose a tooth, your risk of losing more teeth increases significantly. This can lead to reduced self-confidence and other complications along the way.
As soon as a missing tooth is replaced, your overall health is improved because the space left by a missing tooth negatively affects your nutrition, surrounding teeth, and jawbone.
Consequences of not replacing missing teeth
If you need a closer look at some of the consequences of untreated tooth loss, here's a closer look at some of the specific reasons why you should replace your missing teeth.
When you have a gap in your mouth, the surrounding teeth can shift into the space, causing your teeth to become misaligned. Over time, problems such as crowding, crookedness, and uncomfortable pressure can result.
Damage to healthy teeth
As your healthy teeth shift into the socket, the roots can weaken. This can affect the health and integrity of surrounding teeth and may even lead to further tooth loss.
You are also likely compensating in your bite for missing teeth, which can cause overuse and weakening of healthy teeth in other parts of the mouth.
When a tooth is no longer anchored in the jaw bone, the bone can begin to deteriorate. As a result, your chin and lips may appear sunken, adding years to your appearance.
If you have missing or broken teeth, eating a full range of healthy, nutritious foods isn't easy. To compensate for missing teeth, you may swallow food without chewing it thoroughly or stop eating certain foods altogether.
This can lead to nutritional deficiencies over time that can affect your overall health. You may develop severe medical conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, without proper nutrition.
If you regularly chew on one side of your mouth because you can't chew on the other, this uneven use of muscles can cause chronic, persistent headaches.
Depending on which teeth are missing, tooth loss can also interfere with how you speak. You may not be able to pronounce certain words or enunciate them correctly. Some people even develop a lisp. These things can affect your social interactions.
Oral health problems
Untreated tooth loss sets the stage for other oral health problems. It increases your risk for gum disease and bacterial infections.
The restorative dentistry treatment your mouth needs
Fortunately, restorative dentistry currently has several options on the market to combat missing teeth. While complete dentures are what you usually think of when you imagine this type of treatment, the reality is that there are more options available, especially if you are only missing a few teeth.
Partial dentures are removable and fill in the gaps perfectly; they are available in traditional hard resin or as flexible partial dentures. They are a permanent option, as they are fixed to the jaw bone and are not removable. Implant-supported dentures are also an option for replacing a single tooth or multiple teeth.
For example, replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant benefits the appearance and function of your mouth while contributing to your oral health. We also offer other restorative options, such as dentures and dental bridges.
Top restorative dentistry experts in Chandler, AZ
Turning to the best restorative dentistry experts in Arizona is the smart choice if you are missing one or more teeth and need to discuss your tooth replacement options.
Because we know your situation is unique, after examining your teeth and mouth, Dr. Williams and his team of professionals can help you explore your options by offering personalized recommendations during your consultation.
At Perfect Smiles Dentistry, we provide quality, affordable, and comfortable treatments to meet your needs and budget. To schedule an appointment with our experts, visit our website or call (480) 701-8364 today.