Your adult teeth are meant to stay in your mouth for a lifetime. However, dental problems such as mouth injuries, severe decay, and gum disease can all contribute to the loss of a tooth. While you might feel tempted to hold off on a tooth replacement, you should be aware that even the back molars play an important role in the health of your mouth.
Today, you have many options for replacing a missing tooth. Whether you prefer dentures or newer dental implants, your decision to replace lost teeth helps you enjoy these benefits that go beyond simply improving the aesthetics of your smile.
Reduce Changes in Tooth Alignment
Your teeth serve as placeholders that help keep other teeth from moving around. Once you lose a tooth, the muscles and ligaments in your jaw begin to lose their strength, and other teeth will move in to fill the gap. On the surface, your teeth may become crooked or develop unsightly gaps between each one.
Ease TMJ Symptoms
The changes in your tooth alignment can also create issues with your jaws that can initiate or exacerbate TMJ symptoms. Watch out for signs such as frequent headaches, jaw clicking, or pain that indicate a need to replace your missing teeth and correct your jaw alignment.
Avoid Difficulty Eating and Speaking
A single missing tooth makes it more difficult to chew your food properly. Over time, chewing problems can lead to issues such as indigestion, and older adults who are missing many teeth are at greater risk of malnutrition if they begin to avoid certain foods that are harder to eat.
Depending upon the placement of the tooth, you may also have trouble talking properly. The front teeth play a role in helping you to pronounce certain sounds. Without them, you can develop a lisp.
Retain Bone Mass in Your Jaw
Every time you move your mouth to talk or chew, your teeth place a slight pressure on the jawbone. This pressure stimulates bone growth. Without the teeth providing this pressure, your jaw can lose bone mass. Too much missing bone leads to further deterioration in the mouth that can cause your other teeth to become loose.
Keep Your Gums Healthy
The shifting that occurs from missing teeth may cause your remaining teeth to fall into new places. Sometimes the new placement increases the difficulty of keeping up with your oral hygiene. You might struggle to floss or brush. Over time, being unable to brush and floss properly leads to infections below the gum line. The loss of your jaw bone can also cause your gums to recede and thin out.
Maintain Your Facial Appearance
A missing tooth is fairly obvious when it’s in the front of your mouth. However, the changes in the bone, muscles, and ligaments in your jaw can cause your mouth to get a sunken appearance around the edges. Tooth replacements such as dentures and bridges help to keep everything in place so that your face does not change so drastically.
Prevent Sinus Expansion
Your sinuses rest just above your upper teeth, and you might have noticed this if you have ever had sinus-related tooth pain. Your back teeth provide support for the jawbone that helps to keep your sinuses in place. Without that pressure, your sinuses can begin to expand and grow deeper into your oral cavity.
While you might not notice this for some time, the expanding sinus further adds to the deterioration of bone mass in your jaw. You may also require bone grafting to lift the sinus before getting implants if you wait too long. Ideally, you should replace a missing tooth with implants as soon as possible after the extraction to prevent this issue.
At Aico's Dental Group, we believe that tooth replacement has a greater importance than just improving the aesthetics of your smile. Give us a call today to find out your options for tooth replacement so that you can preserve your overall health.