Did you know that more than 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth? Did you also know that by the time they turn 50, the average American will have lost over 10 teeth? This goes to show just how common losing a tooth is. However, this is not something to be taken lightly, especially in adults as it can have serious consequences.
In this article by Overhill Dental, we’ll be looking at 5 serious issues that missing teeth can cause. Read on to find out!
Normally, your teeth are held in place by the jawbone, and when a tooth is missing, the bone can start to deteriorate over time. This process is called resorption, and it means that the empty tooth socket can become filled with soft tissue rather than hard bone, altering the natural shape of the jawbone.
In addition to this, the adjacent teeth may not have enough support which can further weaken the jawbone and contribute to other dental health issues.
With the jawbone affected due to reduced stimulation from missing teeth, the risk for further tooth loss is significantly increased. This is due to a phenomenon known as 'tooth drift,' where the gap created by an absent tooth allows surrounding teeth to move into its place.
The pressure on existing teeth also increases, resulting in them becoming brittle and more susceptible to decay and breakage.
As your teeth shift and move positions trying to fill in the void left by missing teeth, they can throw off the way your front teeth meet to form your bite.
When this happens, it means that too much pressure is being put on some areas when you chew (which can be painful), and too little pressure is being put on others–enabling things like food particles to remain trapped between them where they’re difficult to remove with brushing alone.
Without a strong underlying jawbone to provide structural adhesion and stability over time, lost teeth often will cause an aged appearance in facial features where cheeks and jowls begin to sag due to lack of support from dental tissue and surrounding muscles.
This altering of the physical appearance accentuates wrinkles and age lines, resulting in an altered face that looks much older than expected or desired.
The longer you go without replacing your missing teeth, the greater your risk of becoming susceptible to numerous systemic health problems.
For example, bacteria can accumulate in the gap left by a missing tooth, enter the bloodstream and travel throughout your body, potentially causing serious illnesses such as gum disease and orofacial infections.
In addition, bacteria associated with periodontal diseases can be linked with various conditions elsewhere in the body such as cardiovascular diseases and stroke, diabetes complications, respiratory diseases, arthritis and even difficulties during pregnancy.
As you can see, missing teeth have a ripple effect that can impact many different aspects of your life. Not only are they noticeable to others, but they also affect your overall health and well-being.
If you’re missing one or more teeth, don’t wait any longer to get treatment. At Overhill Dental, our dentist in South Los Angeles can help you restore your smile and improve your oral health. Call us at (323) 296-6180 to book an appointment.