Missing teeth are common and come from several causes. Many people think that a missing natural tooth is only about appearance, but it’s also about caring for your other existing teeth and overall mouth and dental health.
Teeth Can Shift Around Other Missing Teeth
For those that aren’t dentists, we tend to think of teeth as rooted in place, and, while this is true, it’s not quite as firm as we think. According to the American College of Prosthodontists, “More than 36 million Americans do not have any teeth, and 120 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth.” and this number is expected to rise over the next 20 years.
So What should you do if you are missing a tooth? Call your dentist!
Missing teeth happen from decay, gum disease, injury, cancer, or simply wear and tear. Because tendons and nerves keep your teeth in place, your teeth can move. This is especially true when extra space appears in your mouth, such as when it happens with a missing tooth.
This gives other teeth the opportunity to shift over time slowly and discreetly which leaves teeth crooked or with gaps between them.
Another consequence of not replacing a missing tooth is a super-eruption. This happens when the natural tooth opposite your missing tooth grows out of its original position because that tooth no longer has resistance from the missing teeth.
Poor oral hygiene is an unintended consequence that happens when your teeth shift and can require gum disease treatment. Moving teeth create new crevices for plaque and bacteria to grow in and this leads to more damage to your teeth, like cavities and gum disease.
Occlusion is the way your teeth fit together and a missing tooth can affect your alignment and spacing. Those ridges and cusps on the top of your teeth fit together like a puzzle, and missing teeth can change the way your teeth interact. When your occlusion changes, this leads to changes in pressure and bite force that can damage the surrounding teeth, leading to cracks and breaks.
With changes to your occlusion and thus your bite, comes changes to how your mouth chews food.
Missing teeth can cause changes in chewing that affect how easy it is to bite and chew and also changes the way we digest our food.
Poor digestion has far-reaching consequences for your gut and overall health and the fact that a missing tooth can achieve this, is reason alone to look into a dental solution.
Those gaps and crooked teeth mean your smile changes too. A nice smile comes with straighter, whiter teeth, which means a crooked, gappy smile doesn’t look so good.
This has negative effects on our confidence and on how others perceive us.
Never underestimate the importance of a healthy smile. Smiling has several benefits, including increasing confidence, making you more approachable, making others happy, and making you look younger.
We can’t help but judge others based on the state of their teeth. Discolored teeth make us think of smoking or not brushing, chipped and broken teeth make us think of poor oral care, and bad breath is generally an unpleasant experience linked to both bad habits and bad hygiene. Because of this, the impression we make on people when we first meet them is affected by how our teeth look.
The consequences of failing to replace missing teeth mean that people might form negative opinions of who we are and how we take care of ourselves.
Current research shows that a healthy smile gives us a healthier outlook on life. This is in part because people who don’t go to the dentist are more likely to struggle with gum disease and other oral health problems.
Research also shows a connection between poor oral health and poor overall health. How we take care of our teeth is a good sign of how we take care of our body and mind.
How We Can Help
Briargate Dental Center dentists value the benefits of a healthy smile. Treatment options for missing teeth include dental implants, bridges, and partial dentures.
We’re happy to provide you with these options and more. Contact us today or call (719) 598-1293 for more information about our dental services and to make an appointment.