Have you lost a tooth?
By the time the average American reaches 50, they will have lost 12 teeth, including their four wisdom teeth. And for adults between 35 to 44 years of age, 69% have lost at least one permanent tooth. Losing a tooth is a very common problem, but there’s a lot more at stake than just a noticeable gap between your teeth. Every time you lose a tooth, it can negatively affect your overall health. And the longer you wait to postpone the replacement of a missing tooth can increase your chances of losing more teeth, as well as other issues.
If you’re missing a tooth, or teeth, for a while, and you haven’t replaced, here are some of the risks you should be aware of, besides cosmetic concerns.
The Risks That Come from a Missing Tooth:
- Bone Loss – Just as your body relies on the health of your bones, so do your teeth. Having a strong, dense jaw bone helps anchor your teeth. It holds them in place. Whenever you chew your food, this helps stimulate and support the bone of your jaw, just like exercise helps you maintain your muscle. When you have a missing tooth, this can trigger bone loss in your jaw, because the missing gap in your mouth no longer has another tooth to make contact with, which helps to stimulate the bone. As time goes by, having this void space will lead to the deterioration of the jawbone in this location. And this can weaken your other surrounding teeth – more on this below.
- Greater Risk for Health Issues – The longer you wait to replace a missing tooth, the greater your risk for getting gum disease. And gum disease is the culprit that can lead to many other serious health issues like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and even cancer. How can a missing tooth promote gum disease? Because the open pocket, which was once home to your existing tooth, now becomes an accessible gateway for bacteria to enter your gums. And these bacteria will eventually lead to gum disease – the inflammation of your gums – which will promote loose teeth, tooth loss, and more bone loss.
- Increase Your Risk for Losing More Teeth – When you lose a tooth, it can create a domino affect on the health of your surrounding teeth. According to recent studies, when you don’t replace a missing tooth, this increases your risk of losing more teeth by 30%.
- Make Your Teeth More Crooked –When you lose a tooth, this can cause neighboring teeth to start shifting towards the empty space. This can create another aesthetic issue for your smile, because teeth which were once straight now become crooked because of the missing tooth. And it can also create issues for your dental hygiene too. As your teeth crowd into one another, it becomes harder to effectively floss, so more sticky bacteria builds up and forms on your teeth, leading to gum disease.
- Problems with Your Bite – As your teeth shift, this can change the way they come together when you bite. And an improper bite can promote bruxism, a habitual grinding of the teeth, or even when this can lead to bruxism, which is a habitual grinding of your teeth, or a jaw disorder such as TMJ disorder. These issues can promote damage to the enamel of your teeth, tension headaches , tooth sensitivity and more.
As you can see, missing teeth affect more than just the look of your smile. They effect your overall health, and can also lead to more serious, and costly, dental issues. If you’re missing a tooth, and it’s been a while, consider making an appointment with us to learn about some tooth replacement options, like dental implants. Unlike dentures, dental implants look, feel and function like your natural teeth. And because they’re durable, they also provide a long-term option. When you need to replace a tooth, we’ll help you find the right option. Just call us for a tooth replacement consult at (206) 242-0066, or request an appointment online.