Many patients replace their missing teeth for aesthetic reasons. After all, tooth loss can affect your smile and make you feel self-conscious.
But what if you don’t care about the gaps in your smile? Besides your appearance, do you really need to consider tooth replacement?
The answer is a resounding yes!
It can be tempting to delay or avoid tooth replacement, particularly when the gaps aren’t visible. But restoring your smile isn’t only about aesthetics. It’s about maintaining functionality and preventing long-term dental health consequences that can degrade your appearance and oral health.
Replace Missing Teeth to Avoid Bone Loss
After you lose a tooth or have a tooth extracted, the supporting jawbone in that area rapidly begins to deteriorate.
The alveolar bone, responsible for anchoring the teeth in the mouth, needs the stimulation of chewing to keep its structure and density. When the natural teeth are gone, the alveolar bone is no longer stimulated, and consequently, the bone tissue breaks down.
Bone loss continues over time when missing teeth are not replaced. This weakening can result in more teeth loosening and falling out. Before long, you will begin see changes in facial structure, such as sunken cheeks, wrinkles around the mouth or even bite collapse, where the front teeth and lips flare outward.
This creates the stereotypical appearance of a denture-wearer without their teeth.
Replace Missing Teeth to Avoid Further Damage
When even a single tooth is missing, your bite undergoes significant changes.
Extra pressure and stress are exerted on the teeth surrounding the gap. As a result, they begin to shift to fill the empty space. When other teeth move, your bite doesn’t align properly, and undue pressure is placed on individual teeth.
Without tooth replacement, your remaining natural teeth are more likely to break or fracture. In addition, as the teeth shift, they can create new hard-to-reach places in the mouth where harmful tartar and plaque can collect.
This, in turn, leads to tooth decay and periodontal disease, both of which compromise your dental health.
Considering Dental Implants for Tooth Replacement
You have three options for tooth replacement: a bridge, dentures or dental implants. Which one should you choose?
Our oral surgeons can offer a recommendation based upon your specific situation. But like most dental experts today, our doctors often recommend implants. Dental implants stimulate the jawbone just like natural teeth and help prevent bone loss. Dental implants also are secure and stable, feeling and functioning like real teeth.
For most patients, dentures are significantly less comfortable than implants. Many foods are difficult to eat with dentures, and they are notoriously uncomfortable. In the long-term, dentures do nothing to stop bone loss in the jaw.
Bridges don’t prevent bone deterioration either, and the healthy, natural teeth next to the gap must be cut down into pegs to anchor a bridge. So while dentures and bridges are typically less expensive than dental implants upfront, those tooth replacement methods can result in further dental health issues.
Are you ready to restore the health and beauty of your smile? The experienced oral surgeons at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah are well-trained in the latest methods of replacing missing teeth. Contact one of our convenient Salt Lake City area offices today to schedule a consultation to discuss your missing teeth.