Katie Sias, BS RDH
Adverse Effects of Not Replacing Missing Teeth
According to the American College of Prosthodontists, more than 35 million Americans do not have any teeth, and 178 million people in the United States are missing at least one tooth. Tooth loss occurs due to a number of issues such as decay, gum disease, injury, cancer, or wear. Your teeth are designed to work together to help you chew, speak, and smile. There are several tooth replacement options your Dentist may suggest depending on your needs such as implants, bridges, or dentures. However, do you know the risks of not replacing those missing teeth?
When a tooth is extracted or missing, bone loss can occur. The jawbone is preserved through the pressure and stimulation of chewing. When a tooth is missing, the bone resorbs and results in less density and width/height of the bone. Unfortunately, if left untreated for a long amount of time, the bone can start deteriorating around the adjacent teeth as well.
When a tooth is missing, the opposing tooth that is still there can often shift and super-erupt because it does not have a tooth to occlude with. Adjacent teeth can start drifting forward in the place of the missing teeth. These can cause a change in bite that will eventually affect your chewing and lead to more serious side effects.
When your teeth shift out of alignment and your upper and lower jaws do not meet properly, it strains and damages the jaw joint. Muscle soreness may occur as you will tend to favor the other side of your mouth for chewing.
Missing teeth increase the risk of periodontal disease. When teeth shift out of alignment, it makes it harder to properly brush and floss those teeth.
Missing teeth can affect the esthetics of your face. Many people feel less confident about their smile when they have gaps from missing teeth. If you are missing many teeth, the skin around your mouth loses support and will start to droop, which can make you appear older than you are.
Speak and Eat:
Missing teeth can alter the way you speak and eat. Depending on which teeth are missing, it may become difficult to bite and chew certain foods. Often times, you will most likely being overusing the other teeth to compensate for the missing tooth or teeth. You may develop a lisp or change in your ability to clearly pronounce certain works.
Most patients are unaware of the adverse effects of not replacing their missing teeth. Now that you know some of these risks, please consult your Dentist for the best replacement option for you!
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