The Effects of Missing Teeth
One of the immediate and lasting effects of missing teeth is the toll it can take on an individual’s self-esteem. Tooth loss can be quite devastating, leading to insecurity and embarrassment. Missing teeth can make a person too ashamed to smile, laugh, and share jokes with loved ones and acquaintances.
However, the lasting effects of missing teeth do not stop at the emotional impact it can have on a person. We here at Toomin & Bieber Aesthetic Comprehensive Dentistry have seen firsthand the deleterious and far-reaching impact of tooth loss on our patients, which is why we are pleased to offer them many different restoration options to improve both their smile and their confidence.
What are the Dangers of Not Replacing Missing Teeth?
Losing one of your permanent, adult teeth has far-reaching problems that greatly exceed just poor self-esteem. Of course, poor self-image is a valid concern, and everyone deserves to feel confident and happy. Tooth loss does not stop with just negatively impacting one’s self-esteem, however.
One major problem from losing teeth is the effect of the loss on the surrounding teeth. When a person loses a tooth, they are at risk of losing their other teeth, too. When a space is vacated in the mouth, the remaining teeth may try to shift and drift into the open space. This can cause pain and discomfort, especially if the remaining teeth are compensating for the lost tooth. The teeth will eventually become loose and may fall out not long after.
Tooth decay and infections can also occur after tooth loss. Leaving an opening between the teeth can be a welcome mat for bacteria, and it can be challenging to clean this space properly. This can cause further tooth decay and gum disease.
Missing teeth can also cause bone loss. The tooth stimulates the bone, allowing the bone to remain sturdy and strong in the mouth. When the tooth loss occurs, the bone is no longer stimulated and can start to shrink and atrophy. This can also lead to more tooth loss.
Your teeth can also help maintain your youthful appearance. Your teeth lend fullness to your face. When you lose a tooth, your face and start to sag and appear prematurely aged, this can cause the cheeks to sink inward and the jaw to look slumped.
Finally, pain is often associated with tooth loss. This is because the bite force is impaired due to tooth loss, and it can become harder to bite and chew with comfort. The other teeth may also overcompensate for the missing tooth, putting strain on them. This can cause jaw and tooth discomfort.
What to Do in a Dental Emergency?
A dental emergency can be quite severe and even life-threatening. If a tooth becomes suddenly fully or partially dislodged (known as “avulsion”), it is vital that you act immediately. The longer you delay treatment, the poorer the prognosis can be. The risk of the loss becoming permanent is greatly elevated.
If you notice sudden blood in your mouth, you need to contact us immediately. It could mean that a tooth has become knocked out, or that you have severe lacerations (cuts) in your mouth that need to be addressed right away. If you find that a tooth has been completely knocked out, you may have as little as a half hour to have us treat it. Place the tooth in a glass of milk or, in a pinch, a small amount of your saliva and bring it to our office immediately.
If you are suffering from pain, we may need to assess the site promptly. This could be due to many different reasons, including an infection, severe tooth decay, injury to the tooth, or even an abscess. Do not try to diagnose or treat it yourself, as delays in treatment can be very harmful. For instance, if the pain is due to an abscess, your life may be in danger. This is because an abscess can quickly spread and attack your brain or your body. Serious decay and infection also need swift intervention, as you may be at risk of tooth loss.
Replacement Options for Tooth Loss
If you have lost one or more of your teeth, you have a few choices on how you may decide to restore those missing teeth. One popular choice that many patients elect to choose is either full or partial dentures. These are a long-lasting, but not permanent, replacement option for tooth loss. They are nonsurgical and can look quite realistic, making it a convenient choice, but they can cause poor bite force, trouble with speaking clearly, and do need to be removed to keep clean.
Another popular choice for tooth loss is a dental bridge. Traditional dental bridges are a popular choice, but Maryland bridges and cantilever bridges may also be used. A bridge consists of a pontic (which is a prosthetic tooth) that is normally supported by a crown. This crown generally is placed over the surrounding natural teeth and helps the bridge remain strong and sturdy inside the mouth.
Both single and multi-tooth dental implants are great choices for patients, too. Dental implants tend to be the best replacement option due to their quality, durability and longevity. Depending on the number of teeth that are missing, the patient may benefit from a single tooth dental implant. These consist of a titanium post that supports a restoration (a crown), which sits atop a component called an “abutment.” These are a permanent restoration option and look and feel natural, making them an excellent choice for many patients. Multi-tooth implants can benefit patients who may be missing up to an entire arch and may consist of up to four titanium posts and a permanent overdenture placed upon the abutments.
Tooth loss is a serious concern and should, therefore, be treated as though it is serious. Many people tend to ignore it, thinking it is merely a cosmetic concern. Only when the tooth loss starts to affect their quality of life do they start to explore their restoration options. By then, serious and permanent damage may have occurred. If you are suffering from tooth loss, you are curious about learning more about tooth loss, or you are interested in scheduling an appointment with us here at Toomin & Bieber Aesthetic Comprehensive Dentistry, please give us a call today at (818) 748-9998 today!