What Happens When Your Smile is Missing Teeth?
The most immediate consequence of tooth loss is that, depending on the teeth that are missing, you may find it harder to bite or chew food. If the esthetic of your smile is affected, you may feel self-conscious about your appearance.
A possible consequence would be teeth misalignment. This happens very gradually, but over time can result in significant shifting, which in turn has negative consequences for the health of your teeth and gums.
Additionally, over a long period of time, the jawbone could lose density. This happens because bone requires the stimulus of pressure to keep renewing and repairing itself. For teeth, the pressure comes from biting and chewing actions. When a tooth is lost, the jawbone beneath no longer receives that stimulus, so over time it loses density. This impacts oral health and affects the way your face looks too.
Your Options for Tooth Replacement
To replace missing teeth, patients have the choice between three options: dentures, bridges, or dental implants. Each of these options has some benefits and drawbacks and is generally suitable for specific situations.
Dentures are an inexpensive non-surgical option. The denture is a dental device made of acrylic resin, with tooth restorations fused to a mouth plate. Some foods are off-limits with dentures, as chewy and tough foods may put stress on the device and cause breakage.
A bridge is another non-surgical option that’s relatively inexpensive. This is a permanent and non-removable dental device that can replace up to 3 missing teeth. It’s a convenient option, as the bridge can be brushed and flossed like natural teeth.
Dental implants are the most costly option and require minor surgery. However, while these can be considered drawbacks, implants have some important advantages. They look and function just like natural teeth and are the only tooth-replacement option that prevents loss of bone density in the jaw.
Talk to Your Dentist for Advice
If you’re missing teeth, tooth restoration can be life-changing. Talk to your dentist for more information about your tooth replacement options and for advice on which options are suited to your needs.