Half of US adults aged 20-64 years have lost at least one permanent tooth. One in six adults aged 65 and more in the US do not have any teeth. Tooth loss is much more than just a cosmetic issue. It interferes with nutritional intake and adversely affects the quality of life. There are several reasons why you should never ignore a missing tooth. Here are some of them:
You may lose more teeth in future
One missing tooth may not impact you much today, but if you don’t replace it in time, you may end up losing more teeth in the future. Each of your teeth is supported by the other surrounding teeth to stay in position. When you lose a tooth, the adjacent teeth no longer have the support they require. Over time, they shift into the gap, and their roots also begin to move into the free space. This causes them to lose their strength and integrity and you may eventually lose these teeth. The same cycle may keep repeating if you don’t deal with your missing teeth in time.
Jaw pain and headaches
Apart from the increased risk of additional tooth loss, there are several other consequences of tooth loss. Your teeth work in pairs and when a tooth is lost, it can affect your bite balance. It puts more pressure on the other teeth and other areas of your mouth. Due to this, your jaw joints experience more strain, and this can cause facial and jaw pain. It may also cause chronic headaches. When left untreated for a long time, it can cause TMJ disorder, which is a condition affecting the temporomandibular joint that results in long-term pain and other symptoms.
If you are missing a front tooth or a molar, you may have difficulty chewing certain foods such as meat, corn, or other hard and chewy foods. You may feel pain and pressure while eating, and you may inadvertently adjust your jaw movement and develop jaw problems such as TMJ disorder. Sometimes, people start avoiding certain foods and shift to soft foods. This change in diet may lead to the deficiency of certain important nutrients and can cause malnourishment.
Gum disease risk
When a tooth is lost, the bone tissue that supports the root begins to erode. This increases the risk of infection and gum disease. Over time, it can also lead to gum recession, which increases the risk of plaque and bacteria buildup. Gum disease is a serious concern and should be treated promptly because it is linked to health issues such as diabetes and heart disease.
Seeking early consultation for a missing tooth is vital to prevent complications. Timely intervention can prevent adjacent teeth from shifting, maintaining proper bite alignment. Early discussions with dental experts help explore suitable solutions like implants or bridges for a confident smile and optimal oral health.
Changes your appearance
Missing teeth affect the shape of your teeth and jawline. Your teeth, cheekbones, jawbone, and skull determine the contours of your face. Missing even a single tooth can make your face sag or sink. To restore your smile and facial appearance, it is necessary to replace the missing tooth.
It is clear that a missing tooth can have serious consequences. If you have recently lost one or several teeth, you should seek treatment as soon as possible. There are several treatment options available for missing teeth, including crowns, bridges, dentures, and implants. The dentist will examine your teeth and then recommend the best treatment option.
Call us now to schedule a consultation and find out which treatment option is best for your missing tooth.