Posted on Mar 18, 2022, 12 p.m.
There are several causes behind missing teeth - gum disease, severe tooth decay, genetics, or a serious injury. It can get hard to believe that this dental problem is a common condition in people’s lives.
According to statistics, it is so common that an average American has lost 12 teeth, including wisdom teeth, by the time they reach 50. The CDC reports that 7% of Americans have lost at least one tooth due to decay by the age of 17. Almost 69% of adults between the age of 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth, and 26% of adults aged 65 to 74 have lost all of their teeth.
Impacts of Missing Teeth
Let’s take a look at the several risks associated with missing teeth:
1. Chewing Problems
If missing teeth are not treated immediately, your chewing and speaking abilities are severely impaired. This will lead to further complications. For example, if you do not chew properly, the food will fail to enter your system the way it should. When this happens, it takes a toll on your digestion.
Further, if you suffer from missing teeth, you won't be able to eat certain raw fruits and vegetables, making your body devoid of the essential nutrients, resulting in poor health.
2. Misaligned Bite
Due to missing teeth, the rest of your teeth will shift from their original place. This shifting of teeth will change the way you bite. An improper biting habit results in bruxism, a dental issue where you grind your teeth out of habit.
Besides bruxism, missing teeth will also lead to severe jaw disorders like TMJ disorder. These dental problems can further damage the enamel of your teeth, give you headaches, promote teeth sensitivity, and many more problems.
3. Bone Deterioration
Bones are evidently the most important part of your body - even for your teeth. A healthy, dense jaw bone provides anchor support for your teeth, holding them together in place. Just like exercising maintains your muscle, chewing your food supports and stimulates your jaw bone.
Missing teeth will trigger a bone loss in your jaw because they create empty spaces. And if you do not replace the missing teeth, your jaw bone will not be stimulated, resulting in bone deterioration.
4. Weak Jaw
When you break your arm or leg, you are suggested not to use it until it heals. If you do not use it for a long period, the muscle shrinks. This happens with your jaw bone. If you have a lot of teeth missing, it weakens your jawbone, causing other severe problems like a fractured tooth.
5. Further Teeth Loss
If one of your teeth is affected, it creates a domino effect on your other teeth. One missing tooth will cause to affect the health of the surrounding teeth and lead to more teeth loss. Moreover, a study suggests that you risk losing more of your teeth by 30% if you fail to replace your missing tooth.
Treatments for Missing Teeth
Here are a few teeth replacement options that can help you tackle this dental issue:
1. Dental Implants
Dental implants are the most effective treatment option available for treating missing teeth. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, over 3 million people have implants. Moreover, they function and look almost like natural teeth. Dental implants are surgically attached to your jawbone and later topped with a ceramic crown. The ceramic crown is shaded to match the color of your teeth.
There are two types of bridges: implant-supported bridges and tooth-supported bridges.
- Implant-supported Bridges
A bridge is placed along with your dental implant on each side in this treatment. This is not a permanent option, and you need to get them replaced because the bridge sits on your gums.
- Tooth-supported Bridges
In this treatment, you do not require a dental implant. The bridge holds in place your existing teeth at either end of your missing teeth. After anchoring them, a crown is placed and cemented.
Again, even this treatment is not permanent, you will need to adjust and replace the bridges from time to time.
3. Removable Dentures
This is a simple and the most affordable option available if you are missing all of your teeth. Dentures are low-cost, and non-invasive dental treatment works by clasping your teeth and positioning them at the right place.
They are removable and can be affixed through suction or an adhesive. However, they are not a permanent solution because you will have to resize or replace the dentures once your mouth shape changes.
Not only does missing teeth affect your appearance, but they also affect your overall health leading to grave dental issues. Hence, treating this condition immediately is recommended.
About the author: Creating perfect smiles is what Dr. Satish Pai is committed to. An orthodontist by profession, he believes that a perfect smile is a powerful part of a person’s personality. When he is not working hard on perfecting his patients’ smiles at Putnam Ortho, he is busy writing engaging articles about everything related to healthy and perfect smiles. His other passions include golf, yoga, and surfing. Spending time with his family always brings a smile to his face.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before making any changes to your wellness routine.
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