Your missing teeth can take a toll on your self-confidence as well as your physical health.
If you have a gap or two in your smile, you’re not alone. Statistics show that 178 million Americans have at least one missing tooth, and tooth loss tends to increase with age. Many of these individuals not only cope with the emotional side-effects of missing teeth but also with the physical health effects.
Missing teeth first take a toll on emotional health.
If you have easily visible missing teeth you might find that you’re reluctant to smile or perhaps you even change the way you speak to best hide any gaps. Your career and personal relationships may even be affected as you become less inclined to laugh, smile, and chat with others.
Even in the case of a missing molar that’s out of sight, you might still feel a little less confident about your smile.
Then your missing teeth affect your physical health.
Physical health effects often aren’t immediately noticeable but over time your smile can change.
Although your smile is made of individual teeth, your teeth all work together and rely on one another to remain strong and properly aligned. When one or more teeth are missing you wind up with a weak spot that invites oral health issues to develop.
If you’re missing one or more teeth, you could experience these 5 oral health obstacles.
1. Missing teeth make chewing difficult and can cause digestive disorders.
The first obstacle you’ll notice with multiple missing teeth is that chewing isn’t so easy anymore. You might have a tough time thoroughly chewing your food or you can no longer eat the same foods you used to love.
Your ability to chew is very important because it’s the first step of the digestive process. Without being able to thoroughly chew, your digestive system will have a hard time processing nutrients from your diet. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies and digestive disorders, such as heartburn (GERD) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Once your missing teeth have been replaced you’ll be able to enjoy a wide variety of foods while feeling confident your body is able to absorb all of those healthy vitamins and minerals.
2. Without proper tooth support your jawbone can weaken and change your face shape.
Just as your teeth rely on one another for support, your jawbone also relies on your teeth for strength. When teeth are missing the jawbone begins to weaken in the gap as your body reabsorbs the bone.
The form of bone loss occurs slowly over time and can eventually lead to further tooth loss. The physical effects can often be seen in your face shape as well. A shrinking jawbone can alter your face’s profile while further tooth loss can lead to an aged appearance in your cheeks.
The only way bone loss in the jaw can be prevented is with dental implants as they’re the only prosthetic tooth replacement that mimics the root structure of a natural tooth. Bone grafts can even reverse bone loss that’s already occurred! Best of all, you’ll also notice your face gains a more full, youthful appearance after dental implant treatment.
3. Your bite alignment will change as your teeth shift towards gaps in your smile.
As mentioned earlier, your teeth rely on one another. The most common example of what happens when teeth don’t have support from their neighbors is shifting.
When a gap forms from missing teeth, the surrounding teeth will begin to shift towards this gap as there’s no support keeping them in place. This means even if you had a straight smile before tooth loss your remaining teeth may become crooked, crowded, or shift upward, permanently changing your bite alignment.
Thankfully there are a number of solutions for this problem. For example, after your missing teeth have been replaced, your dentist may be able to use porcelain veneers to hide small flaws or even use orthodontics on your natural teeth to realign them.
4. Tooth loss has a strong connection to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
There’s a definite correlation between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. Gum disease is also the primary cause of tooth loss which means tooth loss and cardiovascular disease have a correlation. Studies have further shown that individuals with missing teeth are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease from the first side-effect we mentioned: improper nutrient intake.
5. Chewing on your gums is uncomfortable and can lead to gum disease or infection.
Chronically irritated gums are far more likely to develop gum disease or an infection. It goes without saying that teeth are designed for chewing while gums are not. Even if you do your best to avoid chewing food where you have missing teeth, crunchy or hard foods can still cause a lot of irritation, reddening, and tenderness.
Following a thorough at-home oral care regimen after your missing teeth have been replaced will help prevent future gum disease, thereby protecting your cardiovascular health.
Finding the Ideal Smile Restoration Solution for Your Missing Teeth
Missing teeth doesn’t mean the end of having a beautiful, healthy smile. You can regain your self-confidence and avoid all 5 common negative health effects of missing teeth through a smile restoration.
With a combination of restorative and cosmetic dentistry procedures, skilled dental teams like Barr and Diachenko can help you rebuild your smile. In fact, your new smile can look even better than your original smile before tooth loss.
The most common restorative dentistry services used for smile restoration include the following:
- Dental Implants
- Dental Bridges
- Dentures or Partial Dentures
- Implant-Supported Dentures
After your missing teeth have been replaced with stunning, natural-looking prosthetics, you might take your smile a step further with porcelain veneers, dental crowns, or dental bonding.
Call our office today to book your smile restoration consultation.
To schedule a consultation with the Barr and Diachenko team, call our office or fill out this request form. If you’re a new patient you can save time at check-in by completing this New Patient form online after you’ve booked your appointment.