What is The Problem With Missing Teeth?
By the time most American adults reach the age of 50 they will have lost approximately 12 teeth, including four wisdom teeth. Thanks to advances in dental technology, there are many tooth replacement options to choose from. However, many adults don’t take immediate action to replacing their missing teeth. Losing a tooth is a common problem, but unfortunately there’s a lot more at stake than just a gap between your teeth. Every lost tooth can have a negative impact on your overall health. Additionally, the longer you postpone replacing a missing tooth it may increase the chances of losing more teeth. One of the biggest reason adults delay replacing missing teeth is that they are questioning if the investment is worth it. Below is more information on the risks associated with missing teeth and why replacing them is worth your investment.
Common Risks Associated with Missing Teeth
Beyond just the appearance of having a missing tooth, losing a tooth can have other negative impacts on your oral and overall health. Here are the most common health issues to be concerned with if you are missing teeth:
Bone Loss: You may be surprised to hear that your teeth rely on the health of your bones. In fact, having a healthy and strong jaw bone helps anchor and hold your teeth in place. A missing tooth can trigger bone loss in your jaw. As time passes, deterioration of the jawbone will start to occur in the space where the tooth was, eventually weakening your other surrounding teeth.
Greater Risk for Health Issues: A missing tooth will also increase your risk for getting gum disease. It may not seem like much, but gum disease can lead to many other serious health issues like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and even cancer. How does a missing tooth promote gum disease? The open space in the gums which was once home to your tooth becomes an accessible entry point for bacteria to enter your gums. This bacteria may eventually lead to gum disease and even worse tooth loss and more bone loss.
Increase the Risk for Losing More Teeth: As explained above, a missing tooth can start a domino effect of tooth loss through the weakening of the jawbone and increasing infection in the gums. Evidence suggests that when a tooth is not replaced it increases the risk of losing more teeth by 30%.
Make Teeth Crooked: When a tooth is left missing, the empty space allows room for the neighboring teeth to start shifting. Shifting teeth can create an aesthetic issue for your smile, causing teeth that were once straight to become crooked. This shifting can also create issues for dental hygiene. Teeth that are crowded become harder to effectively floss and keep clean, allowing more sticky bacteria to build up, eventually leading to gum disease.
Problems with Bite: As the teeth shift to fill the empty space, it can change the way they come together. An improper or misaligned bite can promote bruxism, the habitual grinding of the teeth, or a jaw disorder. These issues can promote damage to the enamel of teeth, tension headaches, tooth sensitivity and more.