There are short-term as well as long-term effects to losing one’s teeth. Not only can missing teeth affect the appearance of your smile, it can hamper the normal functions of your teeth – anything from speech to chewing and biting. Missing teeth can also be frustrating and embarrassing. It can make you feel uncomfortable talking to strangers. You would also need to adjust your eating habits as eating and chewing certain types of food like nuts and meat becomes difficult.
Let’s look at some of the most compelling reasons for why you should replace your missing teeth:
It Can Change Your Bite
If you do not replace your missing teeth, you leave a gap that can cause the neighbouring teeth to drift from their proper positions and move towards the vacated space. The gaps can encourage tooth movement that results in the irregular growth of the teeth and create misalignment issues – including changing your bite. When your bite changes, it can affect the way you speak and chew your food.
It Can Cause Healthy Teeth to Decay
Missing teeth can set off a chain reaction such that the adjacent teeth begin to move into the vacated space. Since the teeth would no longer be in their normal positions, they sometimes overlap and create grooves between teeth, making them harder to clean while more susceptible to risks from decay and gum disease.
If a lower tooth is missing, the opposing tooth in the upper jaw may jut out into the missing tooth space as a result – causing what is known as an over-eruption. This may also result in an exposed root structure, which can render the tooth more prone to decay and inflammation.
It Changes the Way you Chew Food
One of the main problems of missing teeth is your ability to eat certain foods. This is especially true when your missing teeth are located where a lot of biting, chewing, shredding and grinding of food takes place. It can make consuming certain types of food very difficult. If you are missing your front teeth, for example, something as simple as biting into an apple can suddenly become arduous.
If your missing teeth make it difficult for you to chew your food into digestible morsels, it can also negatively impact your digestive system. Many people with missing teeth suffer from poor nutrition as they tend to avoid foods that are hard to chew – like protein-rich meats and crunchy vegetables – and miss out on important nutrients.
It Can Cause You to Hide Your Smile
Having missing teeth can make you feel self-conscious about your smile and even cause embarrassment, especially if you are constantly worried about revealing your toothless grin. If your missing teeth are causing you to hide your smile, leaving them untreated would affect your lifestyle in an indirect way.
It Can Affect your Speech
Having gaps in your teeth can make it difficult to pronounce certain words and hamper your speaking abilities.
There are many dental restorative treatments that are available to help with the problem of missing teeth. The most popular options are the dental bridge, dentures and dental implants. The bridge consists of an artificial tooth that is attached to two crowns on either side that may be anchored to surrounding teeth for support. A denture is a removable appliance made to fit over the gap as replacement teeth. Finally, a dental implant offers a long-term and stable teeth replacement solution that feels, functions and looks like natural teeth.
Interested to find out more about our range of restorative treatments – including our dental implant solutions? Please contact Sailors Bay Dentistry at (02) 9958 0400.