In a perfect world you would have a healthy mouthful of teeth and a beautiful smile. In the imperfect world of reality, however, your teeth can fall victim to damage, decay, and gum disease. Depending on how severe these problems are, they can ultimately cause your teeth to fall out or lead to the need for a tooth extraction. After losing one or more teeth, you may be wondering what to do next. From an oral health perspective, the best thing to do is to have your missing teeth replaced as soon as possible. This is the case even when your missing tooth or teeth are not visible when smiling or speaking. At this point, you may be wondering why you need to replace missing teeth, so here are five reasons why:
The primary function of your teeth is to bite, shred, and chew food. Losing even a single tooth can impair your ability to do these things. In some cases, losing certain teeth can make this more difficult than others. Not only that, but your teeth are also involved in proper speech and missing one or more teeth can lead to speech impediments.
Maintains Your Bite
Your upper and lower teeth meet up in a specific way to ensure you have an even bite. However, when one or more teeth is lost, this can affect the way your upper and lower teeth meet. This happens because the surrounding teeth will eventually shift into the gap left by one or more missing teeth. When the individual teeth shift, this impairs the bite’s ability to line up properly. This ultimately causes certain teeth to absorb more impact than others, which can lead to damage or fractures. Overtime, an uneven bite also exerts more pressure on the jaw joint, which can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
Besides the fact that the adjacent teeth will gradually shift into the gap left by a missing tooth, not replacing a missing tooth can also cause the opposing tooth to fill the gap. This is because the opposing tooth no longer has an opposing force, so it will continue to grow into the gap until it is one extra long tooth.
Prevents Bone Loss
After a tooth is lost, the jawbone no longer receives stimulation from the force of chewing and biting. As a result, the body starts to take bone mass from the jaw and distribute it elsewhere in the body. This process is known as bone resorption and starts about six months after a tooth is lost. Overtime, bone resorption will eventually cause the surrounding jawbone to deteriorate, which can cause the surrounding teeth to become loose as well. Not all tooth replacement options can prevent bone loss, however dental implants can.
Restores Your Smile
A final reason to replace missing teeth is because tooth replacement options help to restore the aesthetics of your smile. Whether we like it or not, we live in a highly visual society. Unfortunately, there are also several negative stereotypes associated with people who have missing teeth. Replacing your missing teeth not only improves your oral health and function of your smile, but it restores the beauty of your smile.