We are very fortunate to be living in an age where there are so many effective options available for individuals who have missing teeth. Our dentists here at Thompson Center for Dentistry offer several of them, including dental implants, implant dentures, traditional dentures, and other advanced treatments. While it may be tempting to think that just one missing tooth, or teeth that are missing in areas that aren’t very prominent, won’t have many negative effects, it’s important to realize that this is not the case. Some of the consequences of missing teeth can be well-hidden and may not become overtly symptomatic until serious damage has already set in. This is why it is vital to have a missing tooth (or teeth) treated as soon as possible.
The potential consequences of going without treatment for missing teeth include:
Shifting of Surrounding Teeth
Natural teeth that surround a missing tooth tend to shift their position in order to fill the space. This movement of the existing teeth can result in serious misalignment, potentially compromising smile aesthetics in addition to making chewing more difficult and creating bite irregularities.
Jawbone growth is stimulated by the teeth. Once a tooth (or teeth) goes missing, the bone is in danger of degrading and becoming weaker. This deterioration can cause healthy teeth to become loose. In some cases, they may even become fully dislodged.
Gum Recession and Periodontal Disease
Once jawbone recession sets in, it is not uncommon for the gums to begin receding, as well. This can directly lead to periodontal disease, which can further diminish oral health and even create risks to overall health.
Increased Risks to General Health
If periodontal disease develops due to missing teeth, it could ultimately raise risks to general health. Untreated gum disease has been linked to increased risks of several serious (even life-threatening) health conditions, including stroke, hypertension, heart disease, dementia, and some types of cancer.
Changes in Facial Appearance
Proper distance between the nose and the chin is dependent on the teeth. If missing teeth in certain areas are not replaced, it could lead to “facial collapse,” which is an aesthetic effect that can dramatically alter one’s appearance and make them look quite a bit older than they really are.
Remember, many of these effects can be prevented with restorative dentistry procedures designed to replace missing teeth. Thompson Center for Dentistry offers a comprehensive selection of options that can restore the teeth with results that look, function, and feel so much like natural teeth that it may be tough to tell the difference! To learn more, please contact our office today.