A missing tooth can seemingly cause very little disruption to your day-to-day life over a period of months, and even years, but the consequences of failing to treat vacant gaps in your mouth can be severe, bringing about a number of problems you may not have considered.
Dental implants are widely considered to be the next best thing to a missing tooth, replacing the tooth’s root and fusing with your jawbone to become a permanent part of your body. You can read more about dental implants treatment at Exeter Advanced Dentistry here. Below, we explore why replacing a missing tooth with dental implants as soon as possible is one of the best investments you can make, not only when it comes to your health, but also your emotional wellbeing.
- Prevent jawbone resorption (jawbone loss)
Your teeth play an instrumental part in the upkeep of your jawbone. When you chew and in turn apply pressure to the jawbone, it is stimulated and continues to grow. This is compromised when you lose a tooth and a process known as resorption occurs with the bone disappearing back into the body, no longer providing the structural support that your face requires.
The most common cause of bone loss is none other than missing teeth left untreated for too long and in the first year after tooth loss occurs, 25% of your jawbone is lost, continuing by approximately 4 millimetres in the years that follow. As well as causing the functional complications we have already discussed above, this can have a huge impact on your confidence as your facial aesthetic is also affected.
- Restore your ability to chew and eat
A single missing tooth will make a difference to how you chew and several missing teeth will indeed begin to make this even more challenging. Your speech can also be altered due to missing teeth, with can contribute to loss of confidence which we explore in further detail below.
- Damage to your existing teeth
Each tooth keeps neighbouring teeth secured in place, so when one is missing, the adjacent teeth begin to shift into the vacant space which can result in the need for complex orthodontic treatment because your teeth will not meet correctly. In some cases malocclusion (a poor bite), causes chronic headaches and jaw pain.
- Changes to your facial aesthetic
As the jawbone begins to shrink as a result of a missing tooth, the muscles in your face will start to sag, changing the shape of your face. These changes can manifest themselves in the form of sunken cheeks or a receding jaw, making you appear older than your years.
- Loss of confidence
The changes to your facial aesthetic mentioned above can be detrimental to your confidence and emotional wellbeing, and this is arguably the most important reason to seek treatment as soon as possible. If you have a missing tooth that makes up part of the teeth visible to others when you smile (or the ‘social six’) you may feel reluctant to smile for fear of exposing your missing tooth.
Please contact us if you would like to arrange a consultation with one of our principal dentists who concentrates on dental implants here at Exeter Advanced Dentistry. We look forward to welcoming you.