Missing teeth can occur for any number of reasons, though most commonly because of an accident, sports injury, aging, or gum disease. Whatever the reason for a missing tooth, not replacing them can drastically alter the shape of your face – and not in a good way. Missing teeth can make you look older than you actually are.
Teeth serve many important roles – for chewing and speaking, of course, but teeth also help your face maintain its shape and keep it as long as it is. A person who is missing teeth will, over time, develop a compressed look – this is because their jawbone has gradually gotten smaller.
Often, people who are missing many teeth will replace them with dentures. When the dentures are removed, there are no teeth to hold the jaw bones apart and the space between the nose and chin is much shorter than in a person who has teeth. The mouth can also appear to be sunken because there are no teeth to provide support to the lips.
All Missing Teeth Are Problematic
It may seem that you can put off the replacement of a missing tooth if it’s a molar. Who sees these back teeth all that often after all? Turns out, though, that neglecting to tend to this gap in your smile can shift your appearance. The back teeth are responsible for aligning your jaw and maintaining the shape of your jawline – without them, you’ll notice a significant difference.
If you’re missing more prominent front teeth, which support the muscles in your face, then you could notice your facial features sagging or shifting.
Other Side Effects of Missing Teeth
Besides being detrimental to your appearance, missing teeth can be a problem for your overall health. Any holistic dentist will tell you that missing teeth will compromise your ability to chew and therefore to eat foods crucial to maintain proper nutrition. Instead of lean proteins and crunchy veggies and fruits, you’ll be limited to soft foods like soups and carbs. You need to replace missing teeth to ensure that your diet is not deficient.
Preventing Bone Loss with Dental Implants
Because the jaw bone is stimulated by the roots of your teeth when you chew, it’s important to know that neglecting to replace missing teeth can lead to further bone loss which will affect how your teeth function as well how your face looks. When the natural tooth roots embedded in the jawbone no longer serve a purpose, deterioration begins. Ironically, missing teeth can also contribute to gum disease and tooth decay because the pocket where the tooth once resided will be vulnerable to plaque.
While dentures and bridges are good solutions for missing teeth, dental implants are the most effective solution because they are the only restorative dentistry option that preserves and stimulates the jaw bone. The implant works as a substitute for your natural tooth roots, and restore the foundation of your smile so that it looks, feels, and functions like natural teeth.
Schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Yolanda Cintron at Fort Lauderdale’s International Center for Dental Excellence to learn more about zirconium dental implants, biocompatibility testing, and other restorative dentistry solutions to resolve the problem of missing teeth.