appt Icon Phone Icon

Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth

Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth

December 31,2020 | Created in Implant Dentistry

If you have lost any of your teeth, you no doubt realize there are consequences to living without them: Your smile may not look the way you want it to; eating, speaking and intimacy may be more difficult; and your self-confidence may fade. Though serious, these are not the only impacts. There are hidden consequences of losing teeth that affect not only your appearance but also your health.

Importantly, a loss of jawbone inevitably follows tooth loss. Bone needs stimulation to maintain its form and density. In the case of the jawbone, that stimulation comes from the teeth, which make hundreds of fleeting contacts with each other throughout the day. The small stresses produced by these contacts are transmitted to the bone, prompting it to regenerate constantly. When a tooth is lost, the stimulation it provided disappears. In just the first year of tooth loss, there is a 25% decrease in bone width. This is followed over the next few years by an overall 4 millimeters decrease in height. If enough teeth are lost, and as bone loss continues, the distance from nose to chin can decrease and the lower third of the face partially collapses. With a lack of structural support, the lips sag; that’s why toothless people often appear unhappy. Also, extreme loss of bone can make an individual more prone to jaw fractures.

You may also find that some of your remaining teeth actually shift into the spaces left open by your missing teeth. This in turn can cause additional bite problems and even jaw joint (TMJ) pain. Finally, compromised nutrition and poor general health can result if eating healthy foods like raw fruits and vegetables becomes too difficult without teeth.

Now here’s the good news: Dental implants — the state-of-the-art tooth-replacement method preferred by dentists — can prevent all this.

How Dental Implants Prevent Bone Loss

Besides helping a person without teeth look and feel great again, dental implants actually prevent bone loss. That’s because they are made of titanium, which has a unique ability to fuse to living bone. By actually becoming a permanent part of the jawbone, dental implants stabilize and stimulate the bone to maintain its volume and density.

Dental implants are placed during a minor surgical procedure using local anesthetic and then, after a healing period, topped with a lifelike dental crown. Together, these precision components look, feel and function exactly like your natural teeth. Dental implant success rates exceed 95% — the highest of any tooth-replacement option.

Other Options for Tooth Replacement

Other than dental implants, your tooth-replacement options include fixed bridgework that incorporates or uses the adjacent teeth, and removable dentures. You should be aware, however, that the disadvantage of both of these options is that they may damage the anatomical structures on which they rest. For example, fixed bridges rely on support from two adjacent, possibly healthy teeth, which must be filed down and capped; this can make them susceptible to decay and root canal problems. Removable partial dentures hook onto existing teeth, which may become loose over time. And full dentures press on the bony ridges that used to support the teeth, accelerating the bone loss that began when the teeth were lost in the first place.

The above tooth-replacement options are all less expensive than dental implants, but only when viewed in the short term. Since bridgework and dentures may cause new problems and will likely need replacement themselves, they don’t offer the same long-term value. When viewed as an enduring investment in your comfort, health and well-being, implants offer the best return by far.

Related Articles

Smile Makeover

December 31,2020

Smiling with confidence makes you feel great. A beautiful smile is also an important social and professional asset. Yet there are many people who avoid showing their teeth in public or in photographs because they don’t like what they see. If that describes you, then why not start the process of getting the smile you’ve […]

READ MORE

Fillings

December 31,2020

If you have never had a cavity, congratulations! If you have had one, you are not alone. About 78% of us have had at least one cavity by the time we reach age 17, according to a 2000 report by the U.S. Surgeon General. Fortunately there’s a time-tested treatment for cavities: the dental filling. Fillings […]

READ MORE

Crowns & Bridgework

December 31,2020

Dentistry is an art as well as a science; dental crowns offer a perfect example of this. A dental crown or “cap” is a covering that fits over a damaged, decayed or unattractive tooth. It can even replace a tooth entirely as part of dental bridgework. A crown completely covers a tooth above the gum […]

READ MORE

Inlays & Onlays

December 31,2020

There are times when a tooth suffers damage (from decay, for example) that is too extensive to be treated with a simple filling — but not extensive enough to need a full-coverage crown. In these cases, the best option for restoring the tooth may be an inlay or onlay. Both inlays and onlays are considered […]

READ MORE

Tooth-Colored Fillings

December 31,2020

If you could have fillings that matched the natural color of your teeth so well that nobody could tell the difference, would you choose them over metal? We thought so! Both scientific studies and clinical experience have shown that tooth-colored restorations (fillings) are safe, reliable and long-lasting. Plus, they look great. Not only do tooth-colored […]

READ MORE

Cosmetic Tooth Bonding

December 31,2020

We are proud of the ways in which dentistry can restore broken or decayed teeth to full beauty and function. One of the easiest and least expensive ways of doing this is with dental bonding. Bonding uses tooth-colored materials to replace missing tooth structure or hide cosmetically unappealing minor defects in a tooth — chips, […]

READ MORE

Teeth Whitening

December 31,2020

It’s hard to imagine anything more appealing than a sparkling, white smile. Yet our teeth rarely stay as white as we’d like them to without a little help. Fortunately, that help is available at the dental office. Teeth whitening done in a professional dental setting is a safe, effective way to brighten your smile. It’s […]

READ MORE

Removable Dentures

December 31,2020

Full or partial tooth loss, if left untreated, doesn’t just affect a person’s self-image — it can also increase the risk of developing nutritional problems and other systemic health disorders. Fortunately, there’s a reliable and time-tested method for treating this condition: full or partial dentures.   Dentures are just one option for replacing missing teeth; […]

READ MORE

Porcelain Veneers

December 31,2020

What makes a smile beautiful? That’s a complex question, but some qualities of a lovely smile are immediately identifiable: good tooth color, shape and alignment are a few of the most important ones. If your teeth could use improvement in any of these categories, porcelain veneers could be just what you’re looking for. You may […]

READ MORE

TMD

December 31,2020

If you experience ongoing pain in the area near your ear, your jaw or the muscles on the side of your face, possibly accompanied by a clicking or popping sound or restricted jaw movement, you may be suffering from TMD — an abbreviation for Temporomandibular disorders. Sometimes people incorrectly use the term TMJ to refer […]

READ MORE

Leave A Review!