If you’re missing a tooth, you may think the only problem you have to deal with is lack of confidence. And while missing teeth can cause some cosmetic concerns, there are several ways missing teeth can have a negative impact on your oral health. We look at the importance of replacing missing teeth, and why you should see a dental prosthetist as soon as you notice a problem.
Importance of replacing missing teeth:
- Restore your confidence
If you’ve been feeling self conscious about the gap in your smile, restoring missing teeth can work wonders for your self esteem. Missing teeth can also have a major impact on your speech, as it can cause slurring of words or whistling when you speak. It can also accelerate facial ageing, as the cheeks can begin to sink in without the structural support of teeth.
- Wear and tear of other teeth
If a side of your mouth is missing one or more teeth, you may find yourself chewing with the opposite side of your mouth. In time, this can cause more wear and tear of the teeth, which can make them more susceptible to stress fractures and tooth enamel erosion.
- Shifting teeth
If you have gaps in your smile, your surrounding teeth will start to shift to fill the missing space. Though this might not seem like a problem, the shifting teeth are likely to come in at an angle which can cause issues eating later down the track.
- Increased risk of gum decay
Missing teeth can put your oral health at risk, as the surrounding teeth often shift to accommodate the missing space. This may make it harder for you to accurately clean your teeth, as you may not be able to reach all the surfaces. Over time, this can lead to a build up of plaque which can then evolve into tooth decay and periodontal disease.
- Bone loss
When it comes to the importance of replacing missing teeth, the possibility of bone reabsorption is the biggest concern. Without the roots of the tooth to offer support, a jawbone can rapidly reduce each year leading to a weakened jaw. This is known as jawbone reabsorption, which can drastically change the whole appearance of your face. To stop this from happening, it’s recommended you get dental implants if it’s only a couple of teeth missing, or a partial denture.
Tooth loss replacement options:
- Dental implants
If you’re missing a couple of teeth and don’t want to commit to a pair of dentures, dental implants might be the option for you. Designed to replace the root of a tooth, dental implants are a strong, titanium fixture that’s implanted into your gums. The screw works to provide a stable root for your jaw, which helps prevent jaw absorption.
- Partial dentures
Partial dentures are a great option for replacing lost teeth as they work by clamping onto the remaining teeth. Designed to be worn through the day only, partial dentures offer a gentler alternative than crowns and implants, as they aren’t permanently fixed.
- Implant retained dentures
Implant retained dentures work similarly to partial dentures, except they’re secured onto permanent implants in your gums. Implant retained dentures are a great option for patients who regularly experience denture slippage, as it provides foundational support for the dentures to fix to. They can be regularly removed for cleaning, which is great for both maintaining your dentures and keeping good oral health.