When your teeth play a primary role in almost every moment of your regular day, like when you’re eating and engaging with people, it’s certainly easy to take them for granted. However, it’s important to be mindful of the fact that you may not have all of your teeth forever, and if you are missing teeth, it can cause a number of problems both inside and outside of your mouth down the track.
Missing teeth cannot only significantly impact your physical appearance, but also your oral and general health. For the most part, the causes of missing teeth can be avoided, which is why it’s so important to take care of the ones you still have.
Below we’ve come up with some of the vital facts you should know about how missing teeth can affect you, and what you can do about it before it’s too late.
Most Common Causes of Tooth Loss
Whilst tooth loss becomes more common with age, young people too can experience missing teeth.
The most common reasons for missing teeth are:
Tooth decay: This refers to the cavities or holes in your teeth that form when bacteria in the plaque (sticky film) turn the sugars in food and drinks into an acid that wears down the enamel on the teeth. Tooth decay can happen at any age, and can be prevented by reducing the amount of sugary foods and drinks consumed, upholding a high level of oral hygiene and ensuring you visit your dentist for a regular clean and examination.
Dental trauma: Dental trauma is most common for younger patients, when accidents occur such as a blow to the face during high-contact sports, during a fight, or by falling off a skateboard, for example. Risks of losing teeth while playing sports can be minimised by wearing a custom made mouth guard to protect your teeth and gums from trauma.
Needless to say, most reasons for tooth loss are preventable with good oral hygiene and protecting your teeth. However, when the damage has already played a part and you are currently living with missing teeth, it is advised you replace these missing teeth as soon as possible. Why?
- Missing teeth can impact on your general health
- Tooth loss can deteriorate surrounding bone
- Missing teeth changes the appearance of your face
- Treatment becomes more difficult and expensive later
- There are several effective treatment options to replace missing teeth
Missing Teeth Impacts Your General Health
Naturally, tooth loss can affect your ability to chew your food properly. Not only would it be disappointing to miss out on eating your favourite foods, but having difficulty chewing can also impact on your general wellbeing.
Without the ability to chew certain foods can cause health deficiencies in the variety of food groups and nutrients being consumed which are vital to maintaining a holistic and wholesome diet.
The negative impact on your mental health with respect to missing teeth is also a very real thing. Many patients experience a loss in confidence as they naturally feel the need to hide their smile as much as possible.
Missing Teeth can Deteriorate Surrounding Bone
When a tooth is lost, the remaining teeth naturally gravitate towards the position of the previous tooth. This transition not only causes crooked or misaligned teeth, but it starts to deteriorate the bone in the jaw due to the decreases in density and volume, as stimulation is lost.
This is quite problematic, as it results in a loss of structural support in the mouth, weakening the remaining teeth and creating a more difficult cleaning surface. This therefore increases the risk of dental disease.
Missing Teeth Alters the Appearance of Your Face
Treatment Becomes More Difficult and Expensive Later
If the idea of replacing your existing missing teeth seems expensive and scary at first, it’s important to be aware that treatment will become essential down the track, not to mention, more difficult and expensive as the situation worsens.
To paint a picture of reality, it’s harder to place dental implants when the amount or quality of bone has further deteriorated. This doesn’t necessarily mean dental implants aren’t an option for you, but instead you may require a bone graft if there isn’t sufficient bone volume to support the dental implant being placed into the required space. If there are multiple teeth that require replacing, you may also end up needing several implants than would have been necessary if you had the treatment sooner. To summarise, this will all mean that treatment will take longer, be more intricate to treat, and more costly.
As you can see, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t delay treatment when you experience tooth loss.
To find out which tooth replacement treatment is ideal for you and your needs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Coolangatta, Ballina and Runaway Bay clinics to answer any questions you may have or to book a consultation with our highly experienced dentists. We also offer several interest-free payment plans to assist patients in receiving the treatments they need if necessary.