Some patients may be ambivalent or even reluctant about replacing missing teeth, but the consequences of not doing so can have a major impact on your oral health. Even the type of replacement tooth you choose can affect your smile’s well-being, so consider all of your options, including implant dentistry or conventional bridges and dentures.
Here are four ways that your oral health may be compromised by tooth loss:
- Bone loss: After a tooth is lost, its root is no longer available to serve as an anchor for the jawbone, which slowly erodes as a result. This phenomenon, known as resorption, can reduce the stability of the attachment between the bone and remaining biological teeth in the area and can put the patient at risk for further tooth loss, not to mention creating a sunken appearance in your lips or cheeks. Implant dentistry overcomes this obstacle by preserving the integrity of the jawbone.
- Potential damage to surrounding teeth: Certain types of tooth replacement devices actually require support from surrounding teeth, which necessitates the removal of healthy enamel – a process that can ultimately weaken the tooth. Additionally, some appliances restrict access to the gumline, which makes it harder to perform your oral hygiene routine. It is worth noting that these concerns are not as significant when an oral surgeon places dental implants in your jaw.
- Shifting of surrounding teeth: Just as nature abhors a vacuum, so does your smile. Neighboring teeth will move into the empty space left behind by the missing tooth, affecting the alignment of your smile and possibly your ability to chew and speak properly. Dental implants help to keep the surrounding teeth in their proper positions.
- Nutritional deficiencies: A healthy mouth needs the combination of the right nutrients obtained from a varied diet just like a healthy body does, but tooth loss can make it more difficult to eat things like fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain many important vitamins and minerals. Dental implants preserve nearly all of the chewing function of biological teeth to reduce the nutritional limitations.
In addition to those issues, empty spaces make for an unattractive smile and can drag down your self-esteem, which is another important argument in favor of replacing missing teeth.
To prevent the effects of tooth loss discussed above, schedule a consultation with one of our providers at Dallas Oral Surgery Associates to explore your tooth replacement treatment options, including dental implants. We can work with you to decide which device will best meet your needs.