An astonishing 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, according to the American College of Prosthodontists. While tooth loss is common, the oral health problems that can result from tooth loss should not be underestimated. As we chew, our teeth continually stimulate the underlying jawbone. This natural process promotes healthy jawbone growth. Once a tooth or multiple teeth are lost, the source of stimulation is lost, and jawbone recession begins to set in. This is partly what causes the sunken-in appearance of elderly individuals who have lost an entire arch of teeth.
This American College of Prosthodontists offers this warning:
“The longer you wait to replace a missing tooth after it is lost, the more bone is lost. Sometimes
the bone loss can be so significant that it can prevent your ability to get a dental implant. If you
lose a tooth, go to an [oral surgeon] as soon as possible. The best time [for this consultation] is even before the natural tooth is removed. The [oral surgeon] can devise a treatment plan to improve patient outcomes.”
Problems Related to Missing Teeth
Beyond the dangers of jawbone recession, which can complicate candidacy for dental implants, there are many health-related and personal problems that can arise due to tooth loss. A few of these include:
- Reduced oral function: The primary purpose of teeth is to aid in chewing. The loss of even one tooth can significantly impede an individual’s ability to chew naturally. Efforts to compensate by shifting food toward another side of the mouth can result in jaw pain and worn teeth.
- Shifting teeth: We may think of teeth as hard, immobile structures, but our teeth are surprisingly prone to shifting, especially when there is a gap left by a missing tooth. Shifting teeth can malign the appearance of your smile or make chewing difficult.
- Speech impediments: Teeth play an important function in allowing us to articulate words. Speech issues resulting from tooth loss can be embarrassing.
- Premature aging: Missing teeth can make our cheeks appear sunken. The resulting sagging of our skin can cause individuals to appear more advanced in years than they actually are.
- Low self-esteem: A study by the American Dental Association found that nearly one in four respondents said they avoid smiling due to a missing tooth. The same study found that 28 percent of survey respondents believe the appearance of their teeth plays a role in their employability.
Treatment Options for Missing Teeth
Tooth loss is often the result of injury or trauma to the jaw. For these individuals, efforts should be made to restore the knocked-out tooth as soon as possible. Our Colleyville dental practice offers emergency dentistry services.
Many missing teeth result from planned tooth extractions. If you have advanced tooth decay or a wisdom tooth that needs to be removed, you can begin discussing your treatment options with Dr. Chris Tye, our esteemed oral surgeon. By working with an experienced and respected surgeon, you can take proactive steps to ensure that you do not experience jawbone recession. Often, grafting material can be placed in your jaw following tooth extraction. Once your jawbone has healed, you can become a candidate for a dental implant. Dental implants replace tooth roots. The titanium posts are placed by Dr. Tye at our Colleyville dental office. After your initial surgery, you will need three to six months to recover. The final step involves placing a custom crown on your implant.
Many of our patients report that dental implants feel and function like natural teeth. Dental implants prevent tooth shifting and restore the appearance of your smile.
Schedule Your Dental Implant Consultation Today!
Dr. Tye is regularly nominated as a top North Texas dentist. He has been recognized as a leading oral surgeon by numerous publications over the past several years. If you are ready to schedule a consultation with Colleyville’s surgeon of choice, contact our office online or call (817) 552-3223.