Missing a tooth can cause a slew of problems including limiting what foods you can eat and damaging your self-confidence. Many Americans have missing teeth. The average adult has three or more missing teeth or tooth decay that leads to a tooth being pulled and replaced. Crazy, huh? While some people can grow to accept that they are missing a tooth or two, for others, this kind of issue is something that bothers them day-in and day-out. There can be serious consequences you might face if you just let your missing teeth go ignored.
Problems Caused By Missing Teeth
In most cases, missing teeth are caused by trauma, accidents, tooth decay, gum disease, or poor nutrition. It might just seem like a cosmetic problem that you can live with, especially if the cost to repair them isn’t in your budget, but having a missing tooth is more than just an imperfect smile. It can lead to severe physical and psychological ramifications.
Frequently seen problems that stem from missing teeth include:
- Shifting Teeth – When you are missing a tooth, the excess room where the tooth once was leaves space for your remaining teeth to shift. You might notice that your other teeth gap or crowd each other, which may cause bigger, long-term problems such as painful bite misalignment. Tooth decay may worsen as it becomes more difficult to reach when teeth are colliding with each other. This can put them at a greater risk for being lost later.
- Difficulty Chewing – The purpose of our teeth is to chew so when you lose one (or several) it can make chewing challenging. Chewing may be painful, meaning that people eat less or choose softer foods which can lead to poor nutrition and other associated issues.
- Speech Issues – At any age, this can be embarrassing and ruin your self-confidence, but especially as an adult.
- Bone Loss – If you lose a tooth, it can lead to bone loss in the jaw and face as a result of atrophy which can change the entire structure of your face. What’s that? It is the weakening and decrease of tissue. For most, this can make their face shrink and in turn, make them look older.
- Early Aging – As mentioned above, when your teeth aren’t there to support the skin around the mouth, the skin may become saggy as your face sinks inward. People with missing teeth often look much older than they are.
- Compromised Mental Health – Studies have shown that there is a link between missing teeth and anxiety and depression.
- Diminished Confidence – The American Dental Association did a study in 2015 that showed nearly ¼ of people who are missing teeth were embarrassed and avoided smiling because of it.
- Failed Job Opportunities – During the same study, it was determined that almost 30% of those surveyed felt that how their smile looked kept them from getting a job.
What Can Be Done?
If you are one of the millions of Americans missing a tooth (or a few), there is no need to continue suffering. You have options! The first step is visiting your dentist so they can help figure out the best solution for you.
The most commonly decided upon solutions are:
- Dental Implants – Dental implants are typically used to replace a single tooth, entire sets, and every amount in the middle. They are designed to last a lifetime as they are stable and secure. The look of dental implants is incredibly real. They also feel and function like real teeth. This is almost always the best solution when it comes to replacing missing teeth.
- Bridges – This is another option when a person is only missing one or a few teeth. Bridges are supported by surrounding teeth, but they will have to be replaced eventually.
- Dentures – The last resort. If dental implants aren’t an option, dentures might be the only choice. They usually are not comfortable for the person that has them and many still face atrophy (bone loss), as well as early aging.
Your dentist will be the best resource for figuring out which solution will be the best for you and your dental situation. There is no need to continue living with the emotional or physical discomfort that comes with having missing teeth.
Torbeck Dental can help. Need more information on your missing tooth problem and solution options?
About Torbeck Dental
Torbeck Dental treats every patient with dignity and excellent care. We are highly trained dental professionals with exceptionally friendly and helpful service. We understand that for many, visiting a dentist can be a stressful experience so our comfortable surroundings and compassionate staff will ease any fears you may have. We are here to help you achieve your happiest and healthiest smile! Our dental team are a group of experienced professionals using the latest treatments. Our team has the professional experience to realize that there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all treatment, so we never use a one-size-fits-all approach to your dental plan. We provide quality and personalized oral health care while keeping your individuality in mind. Our goal is to improve and maintain your oral health so you can smile with confidence!