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Posted by on Feb 29, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Missing Teeth: More Than Just a Cosmetic Issue

If you’ve ever had a missing tooth, you’ll know how strange it can feel to look in the mirror and see a space where your tooth should be. It can make your smile look “off” and it can be annoying when you’re trying to eat, but are missing teeth really a problem? Don’t dismiss your doctor’s suggestion to consider dental bridges or implants for missing teeth, because he or she is worried about more than your self-confidence when suggesting them. Here’s why missing teeth are more than just a cosmetic issue and what you can do to have the missing teeth replaced.

Damage to surrounding teeth and jaw

When you have a missing or broken tooth you’ll probably notice that you compensate for it by chewing more on the other side of your mouth. This extra pressure on your teeth can cause some to wear down earlier than normal, and it can cause strain on your jaw that can be painful. Missing one or more teeth can also cause the other teeth to shift out of place and destabilize, making it more likely you’ll lose more teeth later on.

If you have one missing tooth, you may not notice any significant problems until long after the tooth has been removed. Teeth don’t shift overnight, but once they do, it can be more difficult to get them back into their proper alignment than it would have been to replace the original missing tooth. It can also be more expensive trying to correct several teeth than it would be to replace one or two missing teeth. A dental bridge or dental implants can stop the remaining teeth from shifting and allow you chew normally, eliminating undue strain on the surrounding teeth and jaws.

Bone loss

One of the most disturbing problems that can occur when you lose teeth is bone deterioration in your jawbone. Teeth stimulate the bones of your jaws to remain alive and healthy, so if you lose one or more, there is also a loss of stimulation to the bone. This can cause the bone to resorb, or deteriorate, which can lead to a sunken, hollow appearance to your face. It is more obvious at the front of the mouth, but missing back teeth can also have a big impact on the way your smile looks. 

Since bone loss is due to the lack of stimulation in the jawbones, dentures do nothing to prevent this. Dental implants act as substitute tooth roots, stimulating the bone and stabilizing it. They can preserve the bone structure and keep your smile looking natural.

Problems with digestion

Digestion starts in your mouth, with your teeth and saliva being the tools that prepare your food for absorption in your digestive system. There’s a reason why you don’t swallow food whole; in order for your food to be properly digested, it needs to be chopped up and mixed with saliva, which begins breaking down the food into units that can be used by the body. If you swallow large chunks of food that haven’t been properly chewed, your digestive system has to work harder to get the nutrients from the food. Unless you want tummy troubles as well as dental problems, you need to chew your food properly.

Dentures, dental bridges, and dental implants all replace lost teeth, but the implants and bridges offer a more secure chewing surface. Some people find that dentures slide around too much to allow for proper chewing, even with adhesives. Implants and bridges offer a more natural chewing solution, and they don’t shift or fall out while you’re eating.

If you have missing teeth, speak to your dentist about finding a way to replace them. If you don’t, you could find yourself missing more than just a few teeth. You could end up with a whole host of dental and digestive problems. Get in touch with a dentist like Dale D. Lentz DDS for further information.

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