What Happens When You are Missing Teeth?
Missing teeth can affect more than just the appearance of your smile. In fact, they can cause serious long-term damage to your oral and overall well-being. Receiving comprehensive restorative care like dental implants as soon as possible is an important step in preserving the health of your teeth, gums, jaw, and face. Fortunately, our Hewitt, TX, our implantologists can repair the damage caused by missing teeth and prevent further issues from compromising your oral health.
Following the loss of a tooth, your ability to complete basic oral function is immediately affected and can cause your overall quality of life to suffer. Without a solution, what may seem like minor inconveniences can quickly grow into larger, more serious complications. Some of these short-term effects include:
- Difficulty Eating and Drinking: Missing teeth can leave your mouth vulnerable, making it painful or uncomfortable to eat or drink.
- Insecurity when Smiling and Talking: The gaps in your smile can cause you to stop smiling or talking out of discomfort or embarrassment.
- General self-consciousness over your missing teeth: When your smile doesn’t look its best, patients tend to feel self-conscious about their appearance.
- Pain around Missing Tooth: When teeth are missing, it doesn’t take long for patients to experience sensitivity or pain around the site of tooth loss.
- Difficulty Maintaining Oral Health: Empty sockets where missing teeth once stood create a hard to reach space where bacteria and plaque can accumulate.
Missing teeth can also inflict long-term damage on your oral and overall health. If you’ve been living with an incomplete smile for a significant amount of time or have relied on a removable restoration to replace lost teeth, you may be facing the following consequences:
- Weakening and Additional Tooth Loss: Gaps in your smile leave other teeth vulnerable and cause the surrounding jawbone to deteriorate.
- Increased Risk of Gum Disease: Empty sockets leave your mouth susceptible to infections and bacteria that cause gum disease.
- Shrinking Jawbone Structure: Missing tooth roots causes the jawbone to miss out on important stimulation and ultimately shrink as a result. Known as resorption, this can cause severe oral health issues.
- Changing Appearance: As the jawbone shrinks, your facial structure changes, resulting in sunken cheeks and saggy skin. Patients missing teeth often appear to age prematurely.
- Poor Nutrition: Without a stable bite, patients find it difficult to eat hard or chewy foods. As a result, individuals missing teeth are likely to experience poor nutrition, causing their overall health to suffer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will dental implants help preserve my jawbone structure?
While living with missing teeth can cause your jawbone to deteriorate, dental implant treatment can reverse these effects. The titanium abutments fuse naturally with the jawbone in a process called osseointegration after your implant procedure. Just like natural teeth, your restorations will stimulate the jawbone to promote healthy bone growth and restore stability and function to your mouth.
Can jawbone deterioration stop me from receiving dental implants?
If you’ve been living with missing teeth for an extended period, your jawbone may not be dense enough to support dental implants. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t become an excellent candidate for dental implants.
Bone grafting is a supplemental treatment that can augment your jawbone and create a stable foundation for dental implants. With a safe and minimally invasive bone graft procedure, donor tissue is used to restore your jawbone so it’ll reliably support dental implants.
Do dentures prevent the issues caused by missing teeth?
Many patients find dentures to be an adequate replacement for their missing teeth. But dentures have some notable drawbacks when it comes to supporting your oral health. Empty sockets are still vulnerable to infection from bacteria trapped between the dentures and gums.
Over time, regular denture use can cause wear on the jawbone that leads to sores and reduced bone density. Similarly, partial dentures can weaken adjacent natural teeth that they rely on for support. Dental implants avoid these drawbacks because they fill the sockets and enhance the structure of your teeth and jawbone.