3 Ways Missing a Tooth Impacts Your Health and What to Do About It

Missing teeth can impact your health

Tooth loss compromises your oral health and overall health.

Tooth loss is a common issue that many people eventually face in their lives. Whether through trauma, gum disease, or other causes, you may find yourself with one missing tooth, multiple, or even all of your teeth missing. In any case, missing teeth can cause a variety of health issues.

Seeking out treatment can help prevent the following three dangers of a missing tooth.

1. Other Teeth Changing Position

When you lose a tooth, a gap is left behind in your smile. This gap affects the appearance of your smile and can impact your confidence, but a gap can cause more than aesthetic concerns. Leaving a gap from a missing tooth can also lead to problems with remaining teeth, including bite issues.

Without the resistance of another tooth in the way, surrounding teeth can start to shift into the gap. This can lead to orthodontic issues and misalignment, which will require treatment, like any other orthodontic case.

As your teeth shift, they can cause bite issues where your upper and lower rows of teeth don’t sit together properly. This can lead to enamel wear, removing material from your teeth, and increasing the risk of sensitivity and tooth decay. You’ll also be more susceptible to cracks and chips as your teeth come together in irregular ways.

2. Jawbone Deterioration

Jawbone deterioration is one of the most serious impacts of tooth loss. When you have a full smile of healthy teeth, their roots naturally stimulate the jawbone. This keeps the bone strong and dense so that shape and structure are maintained.

When you lose a tooth, the roots are no longer there to stimulate the jawbone. Over time, the bone is reabsorbed. This can affect bite strength, facial appearance, and your candidacy for treatments such as dental implants.

Jawbone loss can begin to take hold with just one or several missing teeth. It happens over the course of years if no treatment is used to replace the missing teeth. The impact of jawbone deterioration is most notable in people missing all of their teeth, where significant facial collapse is possible.

Traditional dentures don’t cause any stimulation to tooth roots, as they only sit on top of the gums. This means that even patients who use dentures still experience jawbone deterioration. This is one reason dental implants are preferred over dentures in many cases.

3. Systemic Health Conditions

The impact of missing teeth isn’t limited to your oral health. Missing teeth and the associated side effects can also increase your risk of experiencing a variety of systemic health conditions.

Tooth loss has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack. A study found that individuals missing all of their teeth were 2.93 times as likely to have a heart attack as those with all of their natural teeth.

Missing teeth can also increase the risk of gum disease, as the gap left by a tooth can shelter bacteria. As gum disease progresses, it can affect other parts of your body. The infection can affect the respiratory system or even enter your bloodstream and spread further.

Additionally, having missing teeth without any replacement affects your ability to chew properly, even if you’re just missing a few. This in turn affects your ability to digest food and absorb nutrients. You can experience acid reflux and a variety of digestive issues, along with not getting the nutrients you need.

What You Can Do About a Missing Tooth

Missing teeth are a serious problem that raises numerous health concerns. However, there are effective tooth replacement options out there for different situations. By speaking with your dentist, you can find a treatment plan that works for you.

Dental implants are generally considered to be the gold standard for suitable candidates. They use the jawbone as a foundation for replacement teeth, providing strong smiles that prevent long-term health issues. They’re suitable for replacing one, several, or even a full mouth of teeth.

Dental bridges are another common option. They rely on the two healthy, natural teeth on each side of a gap for support, spanning across the gap. This restores your smile and prevents your teeth from shifting, but also requires removing enamel from the supporting teeth to prepare for the dental bridge.

Both full and partial dentures are options as well. Patients who can’t undergo dental implant placement due to existing medical conditions can restore their ability to eat and speak with dentures. Partial dentures replace one or more teeth and are a common choice to deal with missing teeth temporarily in patients too young for dental implants.

Restorative Family Dentistry in Austin, TX

If you have a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth, the friendly team at Parmer Lane Family Dentistry can help. We offer a range of restorative treatment options for any situation and can develop a comprehensive treatment plan for your unique needs. Through our dental work, we care for the whole person. Schedule a consultation today to see how we can help you achieve a strong, beautiful, and healthy smile.

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