Do you know that 69% of Americans between the ages of 35 and 44 suffer from at least one missing tooth?
Unfortunately, these stats don’t get any better over time as a quarter of all Americans over the age of 74 don’t know when are dental implants needed and are consequently missing all their natural teeth.
The long-term consequences of missing teeth are pretty dire as they lead to difficulty in eating, speaking and also change the shape and appearance of your face and jaw.
Our teeth are not individual pieces but parts of a complete system which can only work in harmony when used together.
So How Do People Pose Their Teeth?
- Age: Our bone, tissue and ligaments naturally begin to weaken as we age which leads to your teeth falling out over time.
- Poor Oral Hygiene: Bad brushing and flossing habits along with irregular or no visits to your dentist increases the chances of tooth and gum decay if left untreated, causing your teeth to become infected and start falling out.
- Dental Injury: The periodontal ligaments that hold your teeth in their sockets become stretched under extreme force which can damage, loosen or knock out your teeth. Dental injuries are also caused by teeth grinding, sporting accidents or falling.
Here Are 6 Consequences Of Missing Teeth:
1. Difficulty In Eating And Speaking
Missing teeth leads to bone resorption of your jawbone which makes eating and chewing difficult as your digestive system has to work harder to process what you eat.
You may also be limited to eating certain foods as jaw pain increases and your jaw strength decreases, making it near impossible for you to eat certain healthy and nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables.
2. Change In Your Facial Structure
Jawbone resorption has aesthetic consequences if you don’t deal with it quickly. Within as little as 5 or 10 years as the loss of your jaw’s definition increases there will be decreased support to your lips and cheeks which will give you a more aged look as your facial support structure disappears, causing premature wrinkles.
3. Bone Loss
Your teeth are connected to your jawbone with strong ligaments that allow your teeth to shift a bit as you eat or chat. This constant movement stimulates your jawbone which keeps your bone tissue strong and healthy.
Unfortunately, your jawbone stops receiving any stimulation when you have missing teeth and starts getting resorbed back into your body. The ridge width of your jawbone can reduce by as much as 25% within the first year of you losing your teeth.
4. Shift In Tooth Alignment
Your teeth naturally try to compensate for your missing teeth by spreading out. This means that a single missing tooth can compromise the alignment of your teeth, making them appear gappy and crooked.
5. Lower Self-Confidence
Gaps in your mouth can be very unsightly and embarrassing so having a good smile and properly aligned teeth boosts your self-esteem and confidence, creating an air of confidence and authority amongst your peers.
6. Other Problems Like Gum Loss And Gum Disease
Missing teeth diminish the interaction between your teeth and jawbone which leads to your jawbone shrinking and a gum receding which ultimately weakens the structural components of your neighboring teeth till they collapse.
The open socket left by your missing teeth gives access to all kinds of bacteria to enter your gums which can cause more tooth loss, gum loss, bone loss and even gum disease if not treated early on.
So How Can Dental Implants Help You?
Dental implants are the best solution for replacing your missing teeth and their consequences as they require little to no maintenance and are good for life.
Dental implants also don’t require you to change your dental routine habits, are impervious to tooth decay and just require you to maintain good dental habits.
Shen Chao is part of Dr. Joshua Hong’s Smile Clinic. While working for the Smile Clinic, he’s gained first hand experiences into the questions and concerns that dental patients have.
He has been writing to inform people about various dental topics to help his readers improve their oral health.
When he’s not working, you can find him on a hiking trail with his dog or having a Sunday cook-out with friends.