You may do your best to keep your teeth healthy and in place, but age, decay, or injury can result in tooth loss. The smile gap left by missing teeth can certainly take a toll on your self-esteem and confidence. Did you know, though, that a missing tooth or teeth can also cause problems with your physical health?
Kayla Morton, DDS, and Trey Swinney, DDS, specialize in general, cosmetic, and implant dentistry that’s highly effective, always focused on your comfort and satisfaction, and offers the latest in dental technology and technique.
Read why we recommend you not ignore missing teeth and why we often recommend dental implants to fill the gaps in your smile.
The cosmetic consequences of missing teeth
It’s easy to spot the cosmetic effects of a missing incisor, canine, or premolar. These are the teeth that are closest to the front of your mouth. For many men and women, a loss of one of these highly visible teeth might be reason enough to seek a dentist’s evaluation.
But even gaps from missing molars that are essentially hidden from view can also have a significant effect on your appearance. Without the structural support these teeth offer, the skin of your cheeks and around your mouth can begin to wrinkle and sag prematurely.
Missing teeth can also result in bone loss that causes your lower jaw to recede, which can significantly affect your overall facial shape and structure. These factors can all reduce your self-confidence and may affect your willingness to participate in social or work activities.
The health consequences of missing teeth
When it comes to your oral health, missing teeth can negatively affect:
- Your ability to chew
- The density and strength of your jawbone
- The health of your gums
- The clarity of your speech
- The health of your temporomandibular joints (TMJ), which connect your jaw to your skull
Teeth also support one another in your jaw. When you’re missing one or several, the surrounding teeth can eventually slip toward the gap and cause poor tooth and bite alignment.
These issues increase your risks of tooth decay, gum disease, and inflammation which can contribute to other serious health conditions, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Complications during pregnancy
- Infection of the inner lining of the heart (endocarditis)
- Pneumonia and other respiratory conditions
Diabetes and other medical conditions that affect your ability to fight off infection also worsen your risk of developing gum disease and other oral health issues linked to missing teeth.
The value of dental implants
Dental implants have earned a reputation as the next best thing to natural when it comes to replacing missing teeth because of their extremely natural appearance and feel.
Unlike traditional dentures or bridges, which sit on top of your gums, the post portion of an implant is permanently implanted into the jaw. This gives it the same characteristics as a natural tooth root.
Once it’s topped with a highly realistic crown, a dental implant:
- Restores normal bite force
- Prevents bone loss caused by missing teeth
- Supports gum health
- Reinforces surrounding teeth
Dental implants are also extremely durable and easy to care for. Just brush and floss as normal and keep up with routine exams and preventive dental care.
Don’t ignore your missing teeth. Schedule an evaluation with us at Swinney Morton Dental today. We’re here to help.