The goal of modern dentistry is for each & every patient to keep all their teeth for their entire lifetime. As dental health awareness & dental technology advanced, we now see fewer older people who are missing teeth. Still, we find that people may loose a tooth or a few & not think much of it. The reality is that a missing tooth is far more than just a gap in your smile: it can have serious oral health & psychological effects .
Bones are similar to muscles in that if you don’t stimulate them, they will start to atrophy. The bones in your jaws are stimulated when the force of biting & chewing travels down the root of your teeth into the bone. When you lose even a single tooth, the bone under where the tooth used to be starts to weaken & decrease in density. If you are missing all the teeth on your upper or lower jaw, this effect is even more pronounced, & can lead to the face having a sunken & shortened appearance that makes a person look much older.
Missing teeth can make it hard for people to eat foods such as nuts, vegetables & meats. As a result, many patients with missing teeth also suffer from poor nutrition. As patients who are self conscious about their appearance or eating ability may avoid social life.
If you are missing teeth it’s very important that you look into your options for tooth replacement. The longer you wait to replace a tooth, the worse your problems with bone loss & other consequences will be.