Before we delve into replacement options of bridges, implants and dentures, let’s start with why we have to replace missing teeth at all. Is it important to do so? What will happen if you don’t get a replacement?
Missing several teeth can severely influence your daily life. 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 down the line. According to the American College of Prosthodontists, over 50% of people in the United States are missing at least one tooth due to gum disease, tooth decay or injury. Remember, for each missing tooth, you lose about 10% of your chewing ability.
The human dentition is designed to function with twenty-eight interacting teeth. Each tooth connects with two other teeth in the opposing arch. When you lose a tooth it is like knocking a brick out of a wall! At first, nothing happens, but soon gravity and external forces take over and the wall starts to collapse. It’s the same with teeth: gravity and other forces win. The teeth on either side of the gap begin to collapse inward and the opposing teeth start to move. This results in a malocclusion (abnormal tooth alignment).
The longer you wait to replace missing teeth, the more complicated replacement gets and the more costly. You may even sacrifice replacement options – for example, the bone at the gap resorbs over time and so an implant may not be feasible.
When you lose teeth, it disturbs the interplay between teeth and bone. Bones are similar to muscles in that if you don’t stimulate them, they will start to atrophy. Gum and bone are no longer stimulated well enough due to the missing teeth, so the jaw bone starts shrinking and your gum pulls back. This can weaken neighboring teeth until they collapse. Teeth in the opposite jaw can then start growing into the gap.
Missing teeth and a reduced jaw bone can make your face look older and wrinkly, and your cheeks to become hollow and saggy because they can no longer fully stabilize your lips and cheeks from the inside.
Every tooth counts so, do not waste any more time and call our office at (941) 951-7711 to schedule your appointment now!