You’re not alone if you’re missing a tooth or teeth. Around 178 million Americans have lost at least one tooth and approximately 40 million are edentulous (without any teeth). Now you may be wondering whether you should replace a missing tooth, or even if a dental implant is necessary. As a dentist, we’ll tell you that you should replace your tooth; but to help you reach a decision, you should understand the issues that can arise from leaving things as they are. So, here goes ….
It’s easy to think that missing a single tooth isn’t a big deal, especially if the gap that’s left in your smile is out of sight and out of mind. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. When a tooth is missing, the adjacent teeth on either side start to shift in an attempt to close the gap to compensate for the tooth loss. Ultimately, this makes matters worse as tooth movement leads to misalignment, which, in turn, causes a change to your bite. Suddenly, you’re faced with crooked teeth that can make it more difficult to bite and chew your food.
Another factor you may not know is that missing a tooth also leads to bone loss. It’s true! Tooth roots play a pivotal role in stimulating the jawbone to keep it dense and healthy. Without a root and minus that stimulation, bone resorption occurs which, depending on its severity, can directly impact the success rate of a subsequent dental implant procedure and affect post-treatment esthetics. The majority of bone loss occurs within six months of tooth extraction. Furthermore, it’s estimated that 50% of the width of the alveolar bone is lost within a year following tooth extraction, 30% of which occurs in the first twelve weeks.
Bone resorption has a telling impact on an individual’s appearance. As the lower face starts to collapse and droop, it reduces support for the cheeks and lips, making a person appear older and more frail, than they probably are. Bone resorption is common among those who wear traditional dentures, and bone grafting may become a necessity.
A recent study revealed an association between tooth loss and mental health. Missing teeth can impact your confidence in more ways than one. For example, you may find yourself covering your mouth when talking to others and stepping aside from photo opportunities with friends and family. Missing teeth can also cause you to lisp, and you may refrain from smiling and laughing out loud altogether. As a result, you stop accepting social invitations for fear of feeling self-conscious and end up isolated at home. Feeling this way could be even more reason to consider dental implants.
Okay, so you’ve psyched yourself up to go to a restaurant with friends, only to find there’s nothing you can eat on the menu. With missing teeth, it becomes harder to eat a complete range of foods. Healthy nutritious foods such as crunchy vegetables, meat and fruits are no longer an option when you’re missing several teeth. Instead, you’re restricted to soft, mushy foods that can be easily swallowed with very little chewing but that sadly lack the necessary vitamins and minerals that your body requires. Without good nutrition, you may constantly feel lethargic, weak, unwell and more prone to sickness.
Further tooth loss
People with missing or unhealthy teeth, often avoid visiting the dentist for fear of embarrassment and reprimand. Regular dental visits are essential to keep on top of your oral health and retain a healthy smile. Without regular dental checks, gum disease, infection, and cavities can lead to further tooth loss.
To avoid the issues mentioned above, the next step is to schedule a free dental implant consultation with the friendly, experienced team at Chesterfield Dentistry. We can discuss a range of affordable solutions to meet your dental needs and budget, ranging from a fixed dental implant to an implant-supported bridge or removable denture. We also provide All-on-4 dental implants for edentulous patients.
Who can have dental implants?
The implant procedure is suitable for most patients. In your first consultation, we will evaluate your oral health, checking for indications of periodontal disease and jawbone deterioration. We'll also review your medical history, paying particular attention to conditions like diabetes, respiratory disease, heart disease, and bleeding tendencies that could heighten surgical risks. Additionally, age-related diseases such as osteoporosis will be considered. It's important to note that advanced age alone is not a deterrent; individuals in their nineties have successfully undergone the procedure and obtained aesthetically pleasing new teeth.
Dental implants are the gold standard of tooth replacement with benefits that include:
If you’re considering tooth replacement options, why not schedule a complimentary dental implant consultation with Chesterfield Dentistry? Book today.