5 Risks of Not Replacing Missing Teeth

Did you know that missing teeth can seriously degrade your oral health?

Replacing missing teeth isn’t just about aesthetics; leaving gaps in your smile can trigger a host of dental problems. What can happen if you continue living with tooth loss?

missing-teeth

No. 1: Shifting Teeth

Every tooth is a placeholder, helping to keep neighboring teeth in the proper positions. When a tooth comes out, the adjacent teeth start to drift into the gap. This movement causes the teeth to become crooked and changes how they fit together.

Even worse, the extra pressure and stress on the shifting teeth make them more likely to fracture or break. Replacing missing teeth prevents these issues and helps keep your natural teeth healthy.

No. 2: Gum Disease

When your teeth shift out of alignment, brushing and flossing are more difficult. Bacteria can easily become trapped between the teeth, as the tooth movement can create new hard-to-reach areas in the mouth.

Bacteria forms plaque on the teeth, and if it isn’t removed, that plaque will harden into tartar. This, in turn, causes gingivitis. Left untreated, this mild form of gum disease can advance to periodontitis. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss, and the condition has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and a number of other chronic or systemic diseases.

No. 3: TMJ Problems

Teeth that have shifted out of alignment can also cause temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder, or TMJ — a painful condition involving dysfunction in the joint and the muscles that control jaw movement.

When the upper and lower jaws don’t fit together properly, the jaw joint is placed under excess strain. And with many cases of tooth loss, one side of the mouth is favored for chewing. Over time, these issues can bring about or worsen TMJ problems.

No. 4: Bone Loss

Biting and chewing give the jawbone the stimulation it needs to remain healthy and strong. The loss of even one tooth can have a detrimental effect, causing bone tissue to break down.

When you don’t replace missing teeth, jawbone deterioration progresses. Bone loss weakens the jaw, which can result in further tooth loss and an aged, collapsed appearance of the face.

No. 5: Difficulty Eating

Missing teeth can give rise to problems with eating. Tooth loss makes biting and chewing foods difficult.

Avoiding hard, crunchy and sticky foods is one option for dealing with this problem. However, restricting the diet can have an impact on overall health, because proper nutrition plays a large role in preventing chronic diseases and illnesses.

Don’t compromise your oral health by living with tooth loss. The oral health experts at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, serving the greater Salt Lake City area, offer all the best methods of dental restoration. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to discuss your options for replacing missing teeth.