Why Should I Replace My Missing Teeth?
Shocking statistics about Missing Teeth:
Did you know that according to the CDC …
- by age 17, 7% of people in the United States have lost at least one permanent tooth because of decay
- 26% of adults 65 and older have 8 or fewer teeth
- 17% of adults age 65 or older have lost all their teeth
That’s a lot of missing teeth!
There are 5 Risks of Not Replacing Missing Teeth
Missing teeth can seriously harm your oral health and isn’t just about aesthetics; leaving gaps in your smile can trigger multiple dental problems. But, what can happen if you continue living with tooth loss?
Risk 1: Shifting Teeth
Each of your teeth is a place holder and helps keep neighboring teeth in the proper position. When a tooth comes out, the adjacent teeth start to shift into the gap. This movement causes the teeth to become crooked and changes how they fit together. Even worse, the extra stress and pressure on the shifting teeth make them more likely to fracture or break. Replacing missing teeth prevents these issues and helps keep your natural teeth healthy.
Risk 2: Gum Disease
Brushing and flossing your becomes more difficult when your teeth shift out of alignment and bacteria can easily become trapped between the teeth, because the tooth movement creates new hard-to-reach areas in the mouth.
How does this happen?
- Bacteria forms plaque on the teeth
- If the plaque isn’t removed, it will harden into tartar
- This causes gingivitis
- Left untreated, this mild form of gum disease can advance to periodontitis
- Gum disease can lead to tooth loss, and this condition has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and a number of other chronic or systemic diseases.
Risk 3: TMJ Problems
Teeth that have shifted out of alignment can also cause temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder, or TMJ — a painful condition involving dysfunction in the joint and the muscles that control jaw movement.
why does this happen? When the upper and lower jaws don’t fit together properly, the jaw joint is placed under excess strain. With many cases of tooth loss, one side of the mouth is favored for chewing. Over time, these issues can bring about or worsen TMJ problems.
Risk 4: Bone Loss
Biting and chewing give the jawbone the stimulation it needs to remain strong and healthy. The loss of even one tooth can have a detrimental effect, causing bone tissue to break down and when you don’t replace missing teeth, jawbone deterioration progresses. Bone loss weakens the jaw, which can result in further tooth loss and an aged, collapsed appearance of the face and no one wants to look any older!
Risk 5: Difficulty Eating
Missing teeth can increase problems with eating and as we know, tooth loss makes biting and chewing foods difficult. Avoiding hard, crunchy, and sticky foods is one option for dealing with this problem. However, restricting your diet can have an impact on overall health, because proper nutrition plays a large role in preventing illnesses and chronic diseases.
So, what do you do when you start losing teeth?
There is always the option to just go without them, but there are so many benefits to replacing your teeth. Whether you need an implant, bridge or partial dentures, replacing your teeth can have a huge impact on your day to day life.
Procedures and technology in dentistry, especially tooth replacement, is constantly evolving. Historically if you are missing a tooth you have two good replacement options: a partial or a bridge. However, now we have a great third option — dental implants. Before we go any further, let’s discuss the differences between bridges vs. implants.
A dental bridge is a fixed appliance that uses the teeth on either side of your missing tooth to anchor it as a tooth replacement option. Your dentist will trim down the teeth on either side of your missing tooth, these teeth are called abutment teeth. Your dentist will create the bridge that is then cemented onto the abutment teeth.
Consisting of replacement teeth embedded in a molded plate, partial dentures clip onto the surrounding teeth via small metal anchors and are typically used to replace multiple missing teeth. Partial dentures are removable, and the plate can be made from a variety of materials including plastic or acrylic.
Implants are a titanium post that is surgically placed through your gums and into the bone of your jaw. In this tooth replacement option, after the implant has healed (usually 3-6 months) your dentist will place a dental crown that is either cemented or screwed into the implant post.
- Tooth Replacement Options: Dental Bridges vs. Dentures
- Tooth Replacement: Dental implants vs. Bridges — Which is better?
Why is Your Smile is SO IMPORTANT?
82% of U.S. adults agree that the first thing they notice about someone is their smile. So, if you are missing one or more teeth you may feel self-conscious about it.
Appearance aside, there are many health reasons you should replace your missing teeth. Research has found that the number of teeth we have is a strongly linked to how long we will live. Those with 20 teeth or more at the age of 70 had a considerably higher chance of living longer than those with less than 20 teeth.
In addition to living longer, it can also restore your ability to chew normally as well as maintain your face and bone structure.
If you are missing a tooth there are many options to replace it, be sure to ask your dentist what your best option is. Do it not just for the perfect smile but also to improve your health!
Tooth Replacement at Luff Dental
Don’t compromise your oral health by living with tooth loss. If you need to have a tooth (or multiple teeth) pulled OR if you have a missing tooth, you would probably like to have it replaced to fill the gap between your teeth. There are several tooth replacement options that you can consider. If you are unsure of which option is best for you, give us a call for a consultation to help improve and restore your smile! Learn more about Preventative, Restorative and Cosmetic Dentistry available at Luff Dental.
Work with Dr. Luff and her team to find the most effective solution for your smile! We are always accepting new patients in the Lee’s Summit, MO and surrounding area who are ready to improve their confidence and smile! Please call Luff Dental at (816) 875-3391 to schedule your appointment or click HERE and we’ll connect with you!