There are many reasons tooth loss can occur, from accidents to poor dental care. Regardless of the cause, tooth loss is not something that should be ignored. Although many people feel as long as the gap is not noticeable, there is no need to replace the tooth; this is not the case.
In fact, tooth loss can have a far-reaching impact, including further dental issues, general health issues, and a loss of confidence that can affect your mental health. There are many consequences of losing a tooth that can make not seeking a replacement tooth very unwise.
That’s why it is so important to not only replace your missing teeth but more importantly, be proactive in your dental care to avoid tooth loss. Here we look at the six consequences of tooth loss.
Regardless of the location of your missing tooth or teeth, when left untreated, your teeth will naturally begin to shift towards the gap. Your teeth help keep each other in place and once lost, the integrity of your teeth’s alignment is put at risk.
Over time this shifting not only ruins the appearance of your smile but also creates a myriad of dental woes including:
- New spaces between your other teeth catch food that traps bacteria and builds up, leading to cavities and gum disease
- Your gum disease can lead to further tooth loss and bone loss
- Gums recede as the teeth shift which leads to painful tooth sensitivity and worse, the integrity of your root can be affected which can lead to further tooth loss
- Chewing becomes awkward and more difficult which can create premature wear and when severe can affect your overall health if you cannot eat healthy food choices
2. Jawbone issues
Tooth loss creates issues with your jawbone as it reduces the amount of stimulation created by chewing and biting. Stimulation is required to maintain healthy bone density and dimensions of the bone.
When teeth are not replaced, bone loss can continue and is more serious with the loss of several teeth. Jaws with bone loss can lead to many issues, including:
- Discomfort, especially if you wear a partial or full dentures
- Bony projections in the lower jaw
- Painful bony projections under the tongue
- Painful exposure of the nerves in the lower jaw
3. Soft tissue issues
With bone loss, you can also experience a decrease in the gum tissue. This tends to cause sore spots, especially if you wear dentures. Even your tongue can be affected, especially if you are missing all your teeth. The tongue will enlarge to fill the space of the missing teeth.
4. Changes to facial appearance
Both bone loss and the shifting of your teeth caused by tooth loss can affect the appearance of your face. In fact, tooth loss will speed up the ageing process of your face, making you appear as much as 10 years older.
When teeth are lost, the face decreases in height due to a reduction in bone height. You will begin to see changes that could include:
- Changes to the angle of your lips
- Deepening of vertical lines on your lips
- A shift of your chin which makes it move forward creating a “witch chin”
- The appearance you are permanently frowning
- Thinning lips
- Deepening of the vertical lines along the nose
- The appearance your nose is larger
- Sagging jowls
5. General health issues
Missing teeth can lead to health issues related to poor diet due to lower chewing performance. Health issues are a result of a lower intake of fruit and vegetables, high fibre foods and less vitamin A.
People with dentures typically have a higher level of drug intakes — such as stomach and intestinal disorder medications — due to reduced consumption of high fibre foods required for stomach and intestinal health. This leads to improper digestion and poor nutrient absorption.
All these issues can lead to shortened life expectancy and increased risk for poor overall health. Studies have tied dental disease caused by tooth loss to increase the risk of heart or blood vessel disease.
6. Psychological effects
Even if you have a partial or full set of dentures to replace your teeth and restore your smile, you can still feel the psychological effects of tooth loss. These feelings can cause anxiety and affect your social life.
Missing teeth not only change your appearance but can also cause other issues that make you self-conscious such as difficulty speaking, eating and kissing. If you become anxious about these issues, you might isolate yourself. This can lead to more serious issues, such as depression.
Solution for Missing Teeth
Dental implants are the ideal answer for missing teeth. They offer a permanent, natural solution that not only improves your appearance but also returns the proper function. In fact, dental implants even promote jawbone health.
Dental implants consist of a titanium post that is implanted securely in the jawbone to replace your roots. This tooth replacement option acts exactly like your natural tooth and roots. Your replacement teeth are then mounted on the implants providing stability, durability, and comfort not found with other tooth replacement solutions such as dentures.
Once inserted, the implant fuses to the bone providing a permanent tooth replacement. You will not only be healthier and avoid the consequences of tooth loss but also be confident your teeth will not cause issues with speech, eating or kissing. Your natural bite will function properly again, and you can avoid the risk of bone loss.
Dental implants offer:
- A natural aesthetic and enhanced self-esteem
- Improved eating and speech
- Ultimate security and durability
- No messy glues or bonding agents like dentures
You care for your new teeth the same way you do your natural teeth. Brushing and flossing, in hand with regular dental checkups, will help your new teeth last for life. They are the perfect solution whether you are missing a single tooth or your full mouth of teeth.