The gap in your smile is more than a missing tooth. Our teeth also add structure to our faces and play a crucial role in our daily activities such as eating and talking. In this post, we will discuss the common causes of missing teeth and the long-term benefits of replacing them as soon as possible.
Common causes of missing teeth
Our teeth can last until we age with proper dental care and diet. However, the following factors decrease the lifespan of our natural teeth, which can lead to early tooth loss:
- Poor oral hygiene: Flossing and brushing are the hallmarks of cavity prevention. Neglecting any of them can lead to tooth decay which is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Once the disease-causing bacteria severely damage your tooth enamel, your teeth will no longer be viable for any dental restoration and you will end up with a tooth extraction.
- Periodontal disease: According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, periodontal disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. About 17.20% of ages 65 and above have gum disease, wherein 10.58% of them have severe periodontal disease. Periodontal disease causes the gum to pull away from the teeth and infect the pockets that loosen your teeth. If left untreated, your teeth will fall off on their own and even cause more health problems in the long run.
- Trauma due to accident: A knocked-out tooth or a cracked tooth that is already beyond repair may also cause tooth loss.
- Unhealthy lifestyle and diet: Having a sweet tooth and fondness for acidic foods may take their toll on your oral health over time. Even with proper oral hygiene, these foods can cause enamel erosion and make you prone to tooth decay. Smoking can also cause dry mouth that may speed up the formation of plaque and the progression of tooth decay. Smoking also weakens your defenses against infection and makes you more susceptible to gum disease or periodontal disease.
- Age-related health issues: Some people experience a decrease in saliva flow as they age. It can lead to dry mouth, which causes several dental conditions that may lead to tooth loss.
- Another reason why most elderly are losing their teeth is because of their maintenance medications. Some medications common to the elderly can cause dry mouth, such as:
- Antihypertensive drugs
- Urinary incontinence drugs
- Antipsychotic drugs
- Gastric medications
- Pain medication
Advantages of replacing your missing tooth
Tooth loss has an overall impact on your overall health and eating habits. Dentists always remind us to replace a missing tooth, but most patients don’t realize its urgency until it is too late.
It may not bother you to keep the gap in your smile, but doing so will prevent you from achieving the following long-term benefits:
Prevents facial collapse and keeps you looking young
Our teeth support the lower half of our faces. They help fill your cheeks and lips, which makes you look younger. Once you lose your teeth, your cheeks or lips collapse, affecting the lower half of your face. By replacing your missing teeth, smile lines become less visible, and your cheeks will also have more volume, contributing to a younger look.
Lowers the risk for TMJ disorder
Losing a molar has a domino effect on your oral health. You may not notice, but your teeth are constantly moving. If you have a missing tooth, the teeth adjacent to it will eventually shift and trigger a ripple effect on the movement of other teeth next to them.
When your molar shifts, your bite becomes affected. Most patients opt to chew their food on one side of their mouth to ease discomfort. Chewing on one side of your mouth disrupts the equal distribution of biting force in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and can lead to a TMJ disorder.
Keeps your teeth in place
Our teeth lean on each other to stay in their places. As soon as you lose a tooth, chewing, talking, and even smiling can cause your remaining natural teeth to shift. It can either cause crooked teeth or bite issues that can affect your smile and overall oral health.
Boosts your confidence
Missing teeth can also affect the way you see yourself and how you relate to others. With the advanced teeth-replacement solutions today, you will no longer be conscious about smiling in public and talking to your colleagues, friends, and family.
Prevents complications associated with chewing difficulties
Probably one of the worst complications of missing teeth is the difficulty in chewing your food. Aside from changing the way you chew, tooth loss can also alter your diet and limit your options to fewer food choices.
Instead of eating from a selection of food groups, you will opt for softer and easier-to-eat foods and steer away from crunchy and fibrous fruits and vegetables. You will also adjust your way of cooking to adhere to a soft diet, but chances are, you will peel away the extra nutrients from the fibers and skin of fruits like apples.
In the long run, your chewing difficulty will take a toll on your nutrition, which may lead to undernutrition.
Tooth replacement options at Meramec Family Dentistry
Time is crucial in replacing your missing tooth. You can prevent your remaining teeth from shifting the sooner you replace them. Molars can drift six months after extraction, so it’s best to fill the gap in your smile with any of the following options to replace missing teeth as soon as possible:
- Dental implants
- Dental bridge
Meramec Family Dentistry is one of the leading providers of teeth-replacement solutions in Arnold, MO. You may schedule an appointment today and let our dental team help you smile, speak, or eat comfortably.
Reminder: Meramec Family Dentistry is implementing strict COVID-19 safety protocols to ensure the safety of our patients and our dental staff. Learn more about our new policies here.