One missing tooth is a problem. Many missing teeth is an even bigger problem. When your smile is not complete, you are faced with awkward issues every day. You may hide your mouth behind your hand when you smile, avoid speaking up, or keep a straight face for photos – all signs that your confidence has taken a hit because of those missing teeth. There are even more embarrassing problems beyond these issues that can damage your self-esteem if you don’t replace those missing teeth soon.
1. Additional Tooth Loss
When you have one missing tooth, you are far more susceptible to losing other teeth. The support structure of neighboring teeth – specifically the jawbone and surrounding tissues – is weakened by the absence of a tooth. This makes nearby teeth far more likely to loosen or fall out.
2. Floating Teeth
Tissue damage can occur when you have a missing tooth, not only from that tooth’s absence, but because nearby teeth will eventually start to shift out of their own positions to fill the hole. This will lead to loose teeth, an uneven and gapped smile and, potentially, more tooth loss.
3. Difficulty Speaking
If you already avoid speaking up because you don’t want to draw attention to the holes in your smile, you’ll be even more horrified to discover that missing teeth affect the sound and cadence of your speech. Your lips and tongue connect with your teeth and play a critical role in forming the sounds of the words we speak. When teeth are missing, you could end up with a lisp or slur, drawing even more attention to your mouth.
4. Trouble Eating
Have you ever thought about which teeth you use to bite and tear and chew your food? Probably not. When a tooth or teeth are missing though, you are undoubtedly aware of the importance of each of those teeth. A missing tooth can negatively affect your ability to eat normally, or even limit the foods you prefer.
5. You Look Older Than You Are
One of the most embarrassing and visible side effects of missing teeth is a changing face shape. When tooth roots are not there to stimulate the jawbone, the face can compress and sink in on itself, making you look older than you are.
Ways to Replace Missing Teeth
Missing teeth can occur because of a car accident, sporting injury, infection, or poor oral hygiene. How the problem develops affects the solution. The area will always need to be thoroughly healed before any dental restorations can occur. If there is an infection, like gum disease, it will need to be completely cleaned up before a replacement tooth or teeth can be put in place.
Many patients with missing teeth opt for dental implants because they’re permanent and look and feel like natural teeth. Even dentures or partial dentures can be used with dental implants to avoid the need for adhesives and the need to cover your palate. Dental bridges can replace one or two missing teeth.
If you are living with missing teeth, schedule an appointment with Dr. Alana Macalik to find out how she can help you fill the holes in your smile permanently.