Did you know that over 120 million people in the US do not have at least one tooth? Shocking, isn’t it? Actually, it is pretty common for adults to lose their teeth. Experts estimate that by age 50, you could lose an average of 12 teeth.
It can occur due to injury, poor dental health, and even aging. Tooth loss can be bad for your health and self-esteem. Most people would not feel comfortable smiling with gaps in their mouths. That is why experts recommend replacing lost teeth.
Besides improving your smile, there are many reasons why you should replace any missing teeth. Below, we will cover some of the reasons, and this will hopefully make you feel confident about getting your teeth replaced.
Why Should I Replace Lost Teeth?
1. TMJ Disorder
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder is a condition that affects this joint. This joint is the one that helps you chew and rotate your jaw freely. Any changes or injury to this joint affects these activities and eventually your face.
The loss of a tooth and taking too long to replace it can give you TMJ disorder. This is because the new gap forces you to adjust how you bite and chew your food. Neighboring teeth will take more wear.
This could trigger TMJ complications, and you will also experience pain in the neck and head. Other symptoms of TMJ disorder include jaw locking, jaw pain, muscle spasms, and headaches.
2. Difficulty Chewing And Eating
If you lose even one of your teeth, you are going to have a difficult time learning how to chew and enjoy food again. The gap in your teeth will force you to adjust biting patterns, chewing, and even swallowing.
Additionally, you may experience pain in your gap if food gets lodged there. That being said, you may have to change your diet and give up some of your favorite snacks, such as popcorn and peanuts.
The teeth neighboring the gaps will take up the extra work, causing more wear and increasing the chances of losing more teeth.
3. Your Jaw Bone Could Deteriorate
When you lose your tooth and take too long before you replace it, you will notice shifts in your dental structure. The neighboring teeth will move towards the position of the missing tooth. This movement will affect the jaw bone.
It decreases in density and volume due to lack of stimulation. This process significantly affects the structural support of the teeth. The remaining teeth will weaken. This will make them more susceptible to decay and make it harder to clean the surfaces.
Jaw bone deterioration will also affect the face shape. But we will cover that later in the article.
4. Misaligned Teeth
Next, you will have to deal with misaligned teeth. As mentioned above, your teeth will shift trying to fill the gap in your teeth. This will create uneven gaps in your teeth structure and give you a less than ideal smile.
Misaligned teeth can affect the way you smile, eat and talk. This will also affect your bone structure and could weaken your teeth. More teeth become susceptible to uneven wearing, and you could lose more teeth.
As the teeth shift, they also loosen. This creates entries for bacteria and other germs. It will lead to tooth decay.
5. Trouble Speaking
Teeth play an essential role in how you speak and enunciate your words. Teeth form individual speech patterns and help with pronunciation—even the back teeth. Therefore, losing your teeth will affect the way you speak.
You will start slurring your words, stuttering, and generally talking less. It becomes frustrating struggling with speech. It will affect your work and make you less confident in your social interactions.
This contributes to lower self-esteem, and you could struggle to maintain relationships and work. But you can quickly fix this problem with suitable replacements. It will restore speech and your confidence.
6. Affecting Face Shape
If you have a lot of tooth gaps for a long time, it will affect the shape of your face. The shape of the lower half of the face will sustain some deformities. After your jawbones shrink, your face will look shorter than it should be.
The shrinking jawbone can also make it rotate forward. When this happens, your lips could change because they have no support. Additionally, the muscles around the lips can change, making you look older and your nose look more prominent. The upper lip can also look more pronounced.
These changes could easily affect your self-esteem.
7. Treatment Gets Expensive
And finally, the longer you wait, the more expensive treatment becomes. Replacing a tooth can be pricey. However, as you wait, you will need additional services such as realignment, braces, crowns, and even jaw surgery. These are expensive procedures, and you may not be financially prepared to make your smile better. And as you wait, the demands pile up.
Tooth Replacement Options
These are common tooth replacement options that look and feel like natural teeth. They are a permanent solution for single and multiple missing teeth. With proper care, implants can last you a lifetime. Additionally, they look natural.
It is important to note that getting dental implants can be lengthy, from installation to recovery. Therefore, speak to your dentist about it. A consultation will also let you know if you are an ideal candidate for the procedure.
Bridges can be implant-supported or tooth-supported. These options are ideal for people with a lot of missing teeth in a row. Dental implants could take forever to fill the gap. A bridge does it in one sitting, using implants or teeth to support it. They have a natural look and are as effective as dental implants. Bridges are also less expensive than dental implants.
And finally, dentures will help people with a few missing teeth. These dentures clasp into place, ensuring they are in the right place. They are an affordable option and can be replaced or repaired easily. Applying dentures only requires the addition of metal clasps.