The Impact of a Missing Tooth Goes Far Beyond a Gap in Your Smile

A lot of Americans out there are missing at least one tooth. A study by the American College of Prosthodontics found that 178 million Americans don’t have a full set of pearly whites – that’s more than half of the country. The most noticeable impact of missing teeth is aesthetic; no one wants to be photographed with a tooth missing.

Beyond flashing a smile, missing teeth have real consequences. The impact of a missing tooth can affect your oral, mental, and overall health.

Are you missing teeth and want to replace them to regain a full smile? If so, come see the team at Mark Kramer, DDS in Tustin, California. We’re proud of our 99% success rate in implant and restoration procedures, with a lifetime guarantee of effectiveness. In this blog, Dr. Kramer discusses the health consequences of missing teeth and the benefits of dental implants.

Shifting teeth

Although the teeth are attached to the jawbone, they can still shift over time. Adult braces wouldn’t exist if teeth couldn’t shift well past puberty. When a tooth is missing, the teeth on either side of it will start to shift to at least partially fill the hole left behind. This, in turn, leaves more space for other teeth to shift as well, which can lead to tooth sensitivity and teeth grinding.  

Difficulty eating and speaking

Missing teeth in front may impact your ability to bite into food, like apples or sandwiches. Your back teeth are what you use when chewing steak or grinding other foods; missing them means you may spend more time chewing. Shifting teeth may also play a role in how you eat; teeth sensitivity may make it painful to chew or bite with one side of your mouth.

A full set of teeth also helps you speak. Missing teeth can make it hard to pronounce certain words. You may also experience slurring and increased spitting when speaking.

Bone loss in the jaw

Teeth don’t just connect to the jawbone; they also stimulate and support it. When a tooth is no longer there to stimulate the jawbone, it may atrophy, just like an unused muscle. This can lead to a host of problems, including:

Overall, jawbone loss makes a person look older. In addition to the formation of wrinkles, it can cause overall sagging in the face as the facial structure is less supported.

Mental health

Teeth have symbolic value – having a nice smile can be a point of pride. In addition to the physical effects, many people who experience tooth loss experience significant social and psychological side effects. In fact, tooth loss has even been linked to depression and anxiety.

How implants help

Implants, even more than dentures and bridges, are the best way to restore your smile and regain your oral health. The benefits of implants include:

When it comes to the jawbone, implants stimulate it the same way as natural teeth to keep it healthy and strong. 

To learn more about the impact of missing teeth and implants, book an appointment online or over the phone with Mark Kramer, DDS today.

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