The human mouth has 32 teeth. A full set of teeth is crucial for chewing food into small pieces for easy digestion. However, some tend to misuse them, like using them as tools for opening bottle caps instead of their intended function. Although they are the hardest substance in the body, it does not mean they are indestructible. With an unhealthy lifestyle, poor oral hygiene, and irregular dental checkup, you could end up missing a tooth or more.
Here are some contributing factors that could lead to loss of teeth:
- Periodontitis – Periodontitis, a serious form of gum infection, is the world’s leading cause of tooth loss. In most cases, periodontitis develops due to plaque, a thin, sticky film composed of harmful bacteria that damages the soft tissues of the gums and bones that support the teeth. This causes loosening of the teeth, which leads to tooth loss. While periodontitis is a result of poor dental hygiene, it is largely preventable.
- Tooth Decay or Caries – Tooth decay or caries are the most common dental problem, which is prevalent in children, young adults, and seniors. Moreover, infants are not exempted from getting dental caries. Untreated caries could eventually get larger, affect deeper layers of the tooth, and results in severe toothache, infection, and tooth loss.
- Smoking – Smoking tobacco products can also contribute to gum disease and tooth loss. Years of smoking weaken the gums. Over time, the gum tissues start to detach from the teeth and jawbones. Gum recession increases the risk of tooth cavities, alveolar bone loss, and ultimately, premature loss of teeth. Also, chronic gum disease may go undetected in smokers, as it masks the symptoms, such as bleeding gums. If not detected and treated immediately, the infection can become more serious.
Missing Teeth Problems
While some may choose to dismiss missing teeth as a cosmetic problem they can live with, it goes well beyond simple aesthetics or missing out on a delicious steak or biting on a crunchy apple. There are various problems that come with losing your teeth prematurely. Missing a few teeth can have serious implications on your physical and psychological well-being, including:
- Difficulty in Chewing – Teeth are crucial for chewing food. Missing a tooth can cause pain and discomfort when eating certain types of food. Although you can avoid eating them, you might be missing out on essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
- Shifting of Teeth – Missing teeth can make the existing teeth shift from its place. Over time, the teeth can either spread apart or move closer to other teeth, leading to painful bite misalignment. Also, when the teeth spread apart, it could also result in a gap; when it moves closer together, it makes flossing difficult. Bacteria feed on the food stuck between your teeth and produce acids that cause decay, and further tooth loss.
- Bone Loss – Losing a tooth could result in bone deterioration. The absence of tooth roots can lead to jaw atrophy due to the lack of stimulation. Severe bone loss can worsen the problem of tooth loss. Bone deterioration associated with tooth loss can be prevented with dental implants as they replace the roots of the teeth and stimulate the jawbone.
- Speech Issues – Missing a few teeth can cause speech problems. Your teeth help you articulate certain words. It is because the lips and tongue come in contact with your teeth every time you talk. Without your teeth, you may end up sounding slurred or lisped, making you feel conscious whenever you speak.
- Malnutrition – How do missing teeth affect your health? When you have lost a tooth or two, eating a well-balanced diet can be challenging. It can be hard to chew food properly, like steak or celery. Any restrictions on your diet can have drastic effects on your overall health. Malnourishment can compromise your immune system, reduce your energy, and cause anemia.
- Aging Looks – Missing teeth can have aesthetic consequences on your facial structure. The teeth are vital for maintaining and supporting the natural structure of the face and jaw. Without your teeth, it causes your face to sag and alter your overall facial appearance, giving you a more aged look.
- Depression and Anxiety – Smiling with missing teeth can have a significant implication on one’s mental health. Various studies showed that people who have a few missing teeth are more likely to experience depression and anxiety. In most cases, losing teeth can make people disproportionately conscious, which diminishes their self-esteem. Talk to a professional therapist as soon as possible if you start noticing symptoms of despair, anxiety, or loss of interest in your favourite activities.
Solutions for Missing Teeth
If you have missing teeth, it does not mean you have to suffer the consequences of tooth loss in silence. A trusted Sarnia dentist can help you find the right solution for your missing teeth problems.
Here are some of the most common solutions to replace missing teeth.
- Dental Implants – Dental implants are one of the most common tooth replacement solutions. Each implant is designed to look and feel like a natural tooth. Whether you need to replace a single tooth, multiple, or a full set of teeth, dental implants provide a permanent solution to missing teeth. The dentist will surgically mount the titanium metal screw into your upper or lower jaw. Once the implant fuses to the jawbone, the dentist places and secures the dental crown on top.
- Bridges – Bridges are another viable tooth replacement solution for one or a few missing teeth in the same area. Like dental implants, bridges feel and look like real teeth. However, they are a more affordable option for dental implants.
- Dentures – Dentures (partial or complete) are prosthetic dental appliances used to replace missing teeth. Unlike dental implants, dentures are removable. Some denture designs rely on bonding or clasping onto the existing teeth or dental implants.
Do not let missing teeth affect the quality of your life. At Lambton Family Dental, we take your dental health seriously. Our dental team strives to provide excellent family oral health services and preventative care to reduce the risk of premature loss of teeth.
So, if you are wondering does a missing tooth need to be replaced, the answer is: yes. Call Lambton Family Dental today at (519) 344-5747 to schedule an appointment.