Over the course of our entire life we tend to invest a considerable amount of time, money and effort in preserving our teeth. Generally speaking, our efforts are well-rewarded and our teeth remain strong and healthy for the most part. Despite this, we may sometimes have to deal with issues of tooth injury or decay, and on a rare occasion we may have to deal with tooth loss. While we may not always be able to prevent tooth loss from occurring, either unintentionally or deliberately as part of oral care, it is what we do after experiencing tooth loss that will help to determine our future oral health. Specifically, quite a lot depends upon whether we replace lost teeth.
Replacing Lost Teeth
Regardless of the reason behind tooth loss, there is no doubt that it can leave one feeling uncomfortable, especially since it can be quite obvious to others that one or more teeth are missing. In addition to resolving this particular confidence and comfort issue there are also other very important reasons why you not only need to replace lost teeth, but do so as soon as possible:
- To prevent shifting teeth. When an adult, permanent tooth is lost there is no replacement tooth forthcoming. The other teeth in the mouth will therefore begin to shift their position out of alignment and drift into the open space. This means that a gorgeous smile featuring straight, aligned teeth can soon turn into an awkward smile featuring crooked teeth–all because of a single missing tooth.
- To prevent TMJ syndrome. The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, connects your jaw to your skull. When it becomes irritated or inflamed it can cause considerable pain and discomfort. TMJ syndrome can occur when teeth have shifted as a result of tooth loss, and this can create bite problems. Bite problems are an indication that the upper and lower jaws don’t meet properly and this causes strain and damage to the TMJ.
- To prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Another potential effect of shifting teeth is an inability to properly brush and floss one’s teeth due to difficulty accessing all necessary areas. Bacteria-filled plaque can then build up in these inaccessible areas and cause tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Unfortunately, this can lead to even more tooth loss.
- To prevent a change of face shape. One thing you may not know is that teeth roots actually stimulate the jawbone, allowing it to remain strong and properly shaped. When tooth loss removes these roots, the jawbone can become weaker and can deteriorate, which will actually change the shape of the individual’s face. Dental implants can replace the missing teeth roots so that the jawbone does not weaken and deteriorate, and the individual’s face shape doesn’t change.
- To prevent speaking problems. Your teeth–all of them–play an important part in how you speak. Losing even one tooth can change how you speak and force you to form new speaking patterns that may not be as easy to say or clear to understand.
- To prevent eating problems. Obviously you need plenty of teeth in order to properly bite and chew your food. Missing teeth can make biting and chewing a bit more difficult, especially for the remaining teeth that have to pick up the slack.
As you can see, when tooth gaps are allowed to remain in your mouth for some time they can create some serious oral health issues that not only have the potential to be uncomfortable or even quite painful, but will also cost quite a bit of time and money to resolve. Investing in tooth replacements shortly after you have lost teeth can help to better preserve your oral health, and prevent considerable future headaches. Even if you cannot currently afford the high-quality tooth replacements you truly desire, your dentist, Dr. Best, may be able to help you with some temporary replacements that will prevent many of the problems that occur as a result of gaps in the mouth.
For more information about replacing lost teeth, contact Dr. Best today.