Missing teeth make it difficult to eat and make you want to hide your smile. However, the consequences of missing teeth don't stop there. Check out these facts you must know about your missing teeth, and learn about how you can replace them to improve appearance and functionality.
Your Jawbone Shrinks
If you don't use it, you lose it. If you broke your leg and couldn't walk on it, the muscle would atrophy because you weren't using it. The same can be said of your jawbone. Your teeth stimulate your jawbone and give it something to do. Without teeth, the jawbone shrinks. This affects the appearance of your face in a different way than your toothless smile does.
It starts by affecting the alveolar bone, which is in direct contact with your teeth. In the first year after your tooth is lost, this bone's width decreases by 25 percent, and the height decreases by 4 millimeters. The shrinking continues until the alveolar bone is completely lost, and then the actual jawbone is affected, which causes the shape of your face to change. The distance between your nose and chin shrinks, causing the lower part of your face to collapse, and your chin moves forward and turns upward.
Your Existing Teeth Like to Move
When you have missing teeth, some of your existing teeth feel the need to roam. They drift into the empty space, and this can happen even if you only have one missing tooth. Usually, the moving teeth don't just slide over. Instead, they tilt forward, so they no longer sit straight. This further affects the appearance of your smile, and it makes chewing more difficult because your bite is no longer even. If you do choose to replace your missing teeth, these crooked, out-of-place teeth make it more complicated.
The shifting teeth also increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, which further increases your chances of losing more teeth in the future. As the teeth move to fill in the gap, they become crooked and may even overlap. This makes it difficult to properly clean between them. As a result, bacteria and plaque build up, causing damage to the tooth enamel and tooth decay. If left untreated, it may even irritate your gums enough to cause gum disease.
There Are Many Options for Replacing Missing Teeth
The best solution for missing teeth is a dental implant because it fixes every problem associated with missing teeth. Unlike traditional dentures and traditional bridges that sit on top of your gums, implants sit inside your jawbone. This allows them to stimulate your jawbone like a real tooth root. With dental implants, you get back a beautiful smile, and your jawbone stops shrinking.
There are three options when it comes to dental implants: single implant, implant-supported-bridge and implant-supported-dentures. A single implant, as the name suggests, is great for replacing one missing tooth. It consists of the implant and a fake tooth that sits directly on top. If you have several missing teeth in a row, however, an implant supported bridge is a better option. It generally consists of two implants that support a row of fake teeth. Lastly, implant-supported-dentures are perfect if all or most of your teeth are missing. The dentures are supported by a handful of implants, so they are non-removable, unlike traditional dentures.
Having missing teeth affects the appearance of your face and your bite in more ways than one. Traditional bridges and dentures can improve the look of your smile, but they don't stop your jaw from shrinking. The only way to preserve the fullness of your jaw and the appearance of your face is with dental implants. If you're tired of missing teeth, contact a local clinic like The Denture Studio and schedule a consultation.