The Effects of Missing Teeth
The effects of missing teeth can be detrimental to your long term oral and medical health. Missing teeth are also recognized associated with old age and can make you look older than you are.
Replacing missing teeth can dramatically improve your smile and the shape of your face. This greatly enhances both your dental health and self-esteem.
An Off-bite Relationship
Having gaps where teeth are missing affects the way the jaw closes. The remaining teeth begin to tilt and drift into the gaps. In addition, food can become trapped in these spaces, increasing the risk of decay and gum disease. The tilting and drifting can also cause problems for the opposing teeth. An opposing tooth will begin to hyper erupt and begin to drift into the open space of the missing tooth, causing the opposing jaw-line to have bite relationship problems; thus beginning TMJ problems (problems with the jaw joint).
As soon as a tooth is lost, either from gum disease or an extraction, the supporting bone in the jaw begins to dissolve. This process is called resorption. The longer a tooth is missing, the greater the bone loss.
Over time, resorption of the jawbone has a considerable effect on quality of life and on the possibility of replacing the missing teeth. As teeth are lost it becomes more difficult to eat and chew food. Studies have shown that 29 percent of denture wearers eat only soft or mashed foods and 50 percent avoid many foods altogether. And over time, more and more of the jaw bone disintegrates until it becomes very difficult to place any dental restoration.
Benefits of Replacing a Tooth Immediately
A tooth should be replaced as soon as it is lost. This will retain your oral health by preventing bone loss, reducing movement of surrounding teeth and avoiding excess decay.
Teeth provide more functions than just the ability to chew. They are necessary for the health of the gum and jaw tissues as well, and a prolonged absence of a tooth will severely limit the possibilities for restorations. Missing teeth may also affect your confidence and well-being.