Missing Teeth: Not Just About Your Looks

Missing teeth are undoubtedly embarrassing, especially for those with gaps right in front. Some who suffer from missing teeth feel reluctant to live their best lives due to feeling self-conscious about their looks. When you have missing teeth, though, the consequences may be far more serious than many realize. Read below and find out more about what might happen if you leave the missing space unfilled for long.

Teeth Can Travel

This may catch some by surprise but teeth that have no back-up support can move. Each tooth in your mouth depends on the one beside it, above it, or under it to keep it in place. When a space opens up, those other teeth can shift around and loosen up. When that happens, tiny openings can allow bacteria to enter the teeth and gums, causing gum disease and cavities. Also, your natural bite works best when you have a full complement of teeth. When one goes missing, your other teeth have to work harder to do the same amount of chewing. This places pressure on the other teeth and that may cause extra wear, cracks, and weakening of the enamel.

Beware of Bone Loss

Unfortunately, traveling teeth are the least of worries. Bones grow and change all the time – even in full-grown adults. As bone tissue becomes brittle, it's constantly replaced by new, fresh bone material. When the jawbone that supports your teeth senses there is no tooth to support, this regeneration slows or stops. The result is weakened bone structure that can cause a sagging appearance to the lower face and more problems with your other teeth. This problem is so severe and widespread that many people who are able to finally have their spaces filled with an implant must have bone grafts first to give the new tooth something to anchor to.

Many Causes and Many Solutions

While many associate tooth loss with poverty or ignorance, there is far more causes of tooth loss than that. For example, some cancers of the neck or head area require radiation treatments to save a life. That and other issues can deteriorate the jaws leading to tooth loss. Other common causes of tooth loss are:

  • Injuries and accidents
  • Decay
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Smoking
  • Medications
  • Periodontal diseases

Solutions for every need and budget abound when it comes to replacing missing teeth. Implants, bridges, flippers, and dentures allow the missing space to not only be more attractive but to fool the mouth into thinking a real tooth is there. Seek out dental services to find out more about how to eliminate this problem the best way for you.