If you are missing permanent teeth – especially back teeth that nobody can see when you speak or smile – you may not think replacing them is important, or at least not that urgent. But the truth is, the longer you go without replacing missing teeth, the more damage you could be doing to your health. That’s because, believe it or not, missing permanent teeth is more than just a cosmetic issue, it’s a health issue, too. Here’s why you shouldn’t put off replacing missing adult teeth.
Preserve Bone Health
The longer there’s a gap in your jaw from a missing tooth or teeth, the more likely the jawbone is to atrophy. Bone atrophy happens when the roots of the teeth stop stimulating the jawbone. When the bones atrophy, they begin to deteriorate, which can not only cause the jawbone to change shape or shrink, but can also make it impossible for you to get dental implants further down the road. Basically, the longer you go without an implant in place to stimulate your jawbone, the less likely your body will accept an implant when you receive it. Dental implants can help stimulate the jawbone, preventing atrophy and maintaining bone integrity.
Maintain Your Bite
Another reason to get missing teeth replaced as quickly as possible is that the longer your teeth are missing, the more likely your remaining teeth are to shift. This may seem like merely a cosmetic issue, but the truth is, even having just one tooth move can throw your entire bite out of alignment. When that happens, you can experience uneven wear, chipped or broken teeth, and even temporomandibular joint pain, or TMD. When done quickly, replacing missing teeth can help maintain the integrity of your bite, preventing tooth movement and uneven wear. If movement has already occurred, replacing teeth in conjunction with orthodontic treatment may be a more viable solution.
Another danger to not replacing missing teeth is the development of pockets along your gum line. Pockets are the space between your gums and their attachment to the tooth. In a healthy mouth, these pockets are between 1 and 3 millimeters in depth. If you are missing teeth, it is much easier for pockets to form around the teeth surrounding the missing tooth. This can make it easier for periodontal disease to develop, which can lead to more bone, tooth and tissue loss in the mouth. Replacing missing teeth closes pockets around the missing tooth, making it harder for pockets to deepen around the surrounding teeth.
Keep Facial Structure Intact
Another frequent problem many people experience with tooth loss is the changing the outward appearance of the face. With missing teeth, the jaw can easily shift, causing the face to appear sunken and tired. This also has the unfortunate ability to add years to your appearance. Replacing missing teeth with implants can prevent changes to your facial structure, keeping you looking youthful and more alert.
It may not seem like a health issue, but maintaining or restoring your self-esteem can do wonders for your overall health. Low self-esteem can cause anxiety anf depression, which can cause many other medical problems including self-destructive behaviors and poor quality of life. It can also cause your social interactions and career to suffer. Restoring your healthy, beautiful smile with the aid of dental implants, veneers, orthodontics or full mouth reconstruction can help restore not just your smile, but your self-esteem too.
To learn more about dental implants, veneers and full mouth reconstruction, please give Dr. George’s office a call at 724-934-3422.