The “Tooth” of the Matter: Is It a Big Deal to Have Missing Teeth?

Posted by on Oct 11, 2014 in Blogs | 2 comments

As a child, losing teeth is often a right of passage. However, losing teeth as an adult can be unexpected and devastating.

If teeth are missing, especially towards the back of the mouth where you cannot see, does it really matter? The answer is: Yes, it definitely does! According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the average individual in America between the ages of 20 and 64 has three or more decayed or missing teeth, and these teeth tend to be the back teeth (the molars). A common misconception is that there is no need to replace missing teeth, particularly if they are not noticeable.

Yet, the reality is that missing teeth can cause many oral health problems down the road. Replacing missing teeth is an investment that will save you from having to have additional dental treatments.

There are often social and emotional costs of missing teeth. For many individuals with missing teeth, gaps in a smile can be uncomfortable and may even lead them to smiling less and refraining from laughing. A smile can improve the quality of one’s life and is therefore important to keep full and healthy!

However, the detrimental effects of tooth loss aren’t just aesthetics; bone loss plays a major role in the health of your mouth. Even if you can’t see the empty space where the tooth once was, the bone in your jaw is “aware” of its absence. When a tooth is lost, the area of the jawbone where the tooth is missing no longer receives nutrients or stimulation from the tooth roots, causing the bone to gradually deteriorate with time. Also, remaining teeth may shift and reposition in the mouth, which can negatively impact other teeth and your bite. As teeth drift, they create differences in the height and curves of the gum tissue that expose adjacent teeth to a greater risk of  periodontal disease and tooth decay from the accumulation of food and plaque in these hard-to-reach areas. The repositioning of teeth can even change the contours of the face and lips. Bone loss in the jaw causes the face to shrink, exaggerating the appearance of aging.

Furthermore, teeth are essential for eating and speaking. Missing teeth impairs your ability to enjoy foods important for a healthy diet, including crunchy fruits and vegetables. If missing teeth are not replaced, chewing can become challenging and painful.

No need to worry! Fortunately, dental implants can prevent these issues and keep tooth loss from becoming bone loss.?? Implants help keep bone strong and functional. It involves a titanium metal implant that is placed under the gum line, and a customized crown restoration, which is implanted in a minor surgical procedure. Since implants become bonded to the living bone, you can speak and eat comfortably without worrying about the tooth coming out of place. In addition to looking and feeling like your natural teeth, implants help stimulate your jawbone to help maintain the supporting bone structure that would otherwise start to deteriorate after losing teeth.

If you have lost a tooth, it is crucial to act sooner rather than later. A complete set of teeth, even if they aren’t your original teeth, typically coincides with good health and confidence. It is important to practice good oral health care habits and to visit the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. Kim. Dr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

References:

http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/m/missing-teeth

http://www.osseo.org/NEWtoothReplacement.html

http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/DentalCaries/DentalCariesAdults20to64.htm

http://dentistinjuarez.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/dental-implants.jpg

 

2 Comments

  1. Having missing teeth is a concern for patients and can cause further health damage to the mouth. Seeing a dentist that has proper training and experience is so important because the dentist can advise the patient on what treatments to take. Thanks for sharing this info!

  2. It is indeed very dangerous to lose teeth in your adult life and everyone needs to take proper care.

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