Missing Teeth? 6 Important Reasons to Replace Them
Adults are designed to function with 28 permanent teeth. Each tooth has an important role to play in the health of the gums and the jawbone. Losing even one permanent tooth can have a domino effect, negatively impacting both health and appearance.
Difficulty with Digestion
Proper digestion starts with the teeth. Teeth are broken down into four categories: the incisors in the front of the mouth that bite into the food, the pointed canines that tear the food, and the premolars and molars that guide the food to the back of the mouth, preparing it for the next stage in the digestive process. Each tooth lost decreases the chewing function by about 10%. If your ability to chew properly is compromised, you might not get proper nutrition, as you won’t be able to eat foods packed with vitamins and minerals, such as raw fruits and vegetables.
Healthy teeth are straight, but when you lose a tooth, the adjacent teeth will begin to tilt into that position, causing your teeth to be misaligned. That will make it more difficult to clean your teeth, leading to plaque buildup and the potential for decay, periodontal disease, and more tooth loss. If you lose a tooth in either the lower or upper jaw, the opposing tooth will move out of the gum and downward toward the space.
If you don’t exercise your muscles, over time, they will begin to atrophy. In the same way, your jawbone will begin to weaken if not stimulated by biting and chewing. The bone is the foundation of the gum and the teeth, so if it starts to deteriorate, you will experience further tooth loss. Bone loss begins immediately upon tooth loss and will continue to get worse until you replace the tooth.
When you lose teeth, you will develop an overbite until the teeth in the upper jaw completely cover the teeth in the lower jaw. That causes a reduction in facial height, as the distance between the nose and the tip of the chin decreases, referred to as loss of vertical dimension of occlusion or bite collapse. Your face shortens, and wrinkles appear exaggerated, making you appear years older. Also, the lips become compressed; no matter what your mood, you will appear to be perennially unhappy or angry.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
The temporomandibular joints function like hinges connecting the jaw to the skull and enabling a full range of motion of the jaw. Missing teeth can affect the proper functioning of these joints, making it harder to open and close the jaw with ease. Popping or clicking in these joints is often the first sign there’s a problem. Additional symptoms include regular headaches, jaw, neck or shoulder pain, earaches, and discomfort even in healthy teeth.
Pressure on Teeth
Losing one or more teeth puts more stress on the remaining teeth, which can lead to tooth decay and fracture. Additional pressure on the front teeth will cause them to move forward, and the space between the two will increase.
Are you missing teeth?
Do not put off replacing a lost tooth. If you do, you can face serious consequences down the road.
Contact Suburban Essex Dental. We can help you. We can provide you with the options that will be best for you to prevent any of the above issues from happening in the future. We are located in West Orange, New Jersey and have been providing professional dental care for over three decades.