As people age, they may be more willing to tolerate certain health issues, like a missing tooth. Then again, some people maintain an attitude of, “I’ll deal with it” throughout most of their life, no matter their age. But here’s the problem: If you’re living life with missing adult teeth, you’re doing yourself, your appearance, your digestive tract, and your overall health a great disservice. Dental implants will revitalize your look and restore the essential functionality that went missing along with your teeth.
Missing Teeth Change the Shape of Your Face
Your teeth aren’t only good for chewing food. Far from it. While the functionality of your smile will obviously be impacted by missing teeth and you will be unable to adequately chew on a piece of protein, crunch into certain fruits or vegetables, or enjoy the nuts, popcorn, or sticky snacks you’ve always loved, your appearance is going to be one of the biggest shifts caused by the gaps in your smile.
Bone needs to be stimulated in order to maintain its form and density, and teeth stimulate each other all day, every day, doing the many jobs they are intended to do and continually rebuilding. The loss of a tooth means a gap in the stimulation, which impacts the volume of your jawbone that contains the tooth sockets. Over time, missing teeth can cause this part of the jawbone (the alveolar bone) to lose width and height. This consequence impacts gum tissue and, in turn, leads to a decreased ability to chew well and speak clearly.
In other words, the more alveolar bone that is lost, the more of the proper jawbone that is compromised, and eventually the lower portion of a person’s face will begin to collapse, cheeks will become hollow from lack of tooth support, and jaw fractures are more likely to occur. When back teeth are missing, their important job of supporting the vertical height of the face is absent, and bite collapse can occur, pushing the front teeth forward. Front teeth aren’t intended to do any supportive jobs or chewing; their job is to simply hold or tear food. The most common teeth to be lost, whether because of decay or fracture, are back teeth, in particular your six-year molars, which are the first adult teeth to erupt in the mouth.
Coping with Missing Teeth
The psychological effects, as well as the social consequences, of missing teeth are significant. It’s easy to think that you can manage your daily life with a missing tooth or teeth. However, if your altered appearance isn’t enough to convince you that this absent tooth is a problem, your inability to eat or speak properly should make an impression. Imagine a first date, a meeting with colleagues, a job interview… every social event is impacted by the obvious gaps in your smile (and don’t think that just because they’re in the back of your smile those holes will go unnoticed).
Over time, besides changing the shape of your face, missing teeth will take a toll on your overall oral health. Bacteria will collect in the empty pockets and put you at greater risk for periodontal disease – if that isn’t already why your teeth are missing, as losing teeth is one of the biggest side effects of gum disease.
Dental implants restore functionality, keep your jawbone stimulated, and keep your face shape intact. Once an implant is placed in the bone, your mouth will be given time to heal and acclimate to the new addition. After several weeks, a prosthetic tooth will be placed on the implant – the tooth, and your smile, will look natural and be strong and secure.
Ashamed of your missing teeth? Using other solutions for missing teeth, like dentures, that are making you unhappy? Make your appointment with Dr. John Moore at Cosmetic Dental Associates in San Antonio to discuss dental implants and how they will change your life.