Missing teeth can make life really inconvenient. You can’t enjoy all of your favorite foods anymore. You might become self-conscious of the spaces in your grin. Did you know that it can also negatively impact your health? That’s right, not replacing missing teeth can have consequences. Let’s take a closer look at what can happen, and what your options are for restoring your smile.
What Happens If You Don’t Replace Your Missing Teeth?
When you have all of your teeth, they do a pretty good job of keeping each other exactly where they should be. However, when you’re missing one or more teeth, the rest of them will shift to try and fill in the gap. Your smile will become crooked, which increases the risk of decay and gum disease, in addition to the frustration caused by undoing any past orthodontic work. Your face may also change shape. When you’re missing a tooth root, the jawbone in that part of your face receives no stimulation through chewing. Therefore, the bone begins to atrophy from disuse. Your face will look sunken in that area, making you appear older than you actually are.
It’s not just your physical health that will suffer. Looking older will affect your mental health as well. You might not be confident in your appearance anymore. If you’re missing a front tooth, having a gap in your smile can be devastating to your self-esteem. Plus, you might not be able to enjoy your favorite crunchy or chewy foods anymore, which can lead to feelings of depression. That’s why it’s crucial to get your missing teeth replaced.
What Are Your Options?
Fortunately, modern dentistry offers a lot of excellent choices when it comes to replacing missing teeth, which are:
- Dentures. These artificial teeth can be either partial or full arch, and they are worn over the gums to restore biting power and speech capabilities. Simply remove them and soak them in denture cleaner at night.
- Bridges. A bridge is essentially a crown that is anchored to two adjacent teeth. It’s a good option if you’re only missing one tooth. However, it can place stress on the two surrounding teeth that hold the bridge in place.
- Dental implants. When it comes to replacing missing teeth, dental implants are truly in a class of their own. They’re the only option that replaces not only the crown, or the visible top part of the tooth, but the root as well. They consist of a metal post that is surgically inserted below the gumline, where it gradually integrates with the jawbone. After that process is complete, your dentist can top it with a crown to make it look, feel, and function just like a natural tooth.
Whatever choice you select is ultimately up to you and your dentist. The important thing is that you save your mental and physical health by getting your missing tooth replaced as soon as possible.
About the Author
Dr. James Geer received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Texas at Houston. He then opened his private practice in Tomball, TX in 1977, where he loves helping patients look and feel their best. His practice offers dental implants, dentures, crowns, and bridges to help replace your missing teeth. If you’re ready to fix that gap in your smile, contact the doctor here or at (281) 357-4337.