Teeth have a major impact in your daily life. They affect your general health, appearance and self-esteem. And every tooth plays an important role.
In the back of the mouth, healthy teeth help you chew and grind food without problem while interacting with muscles and joints throughout the lower half of your face. In the front, teeth help you cut your food, support your lips, and of course can be an important part of your smile.
Effects on surrounding teeth
Missing even a single tooth has a tremendous effect on the remaining teeth, leaving them without support. Lacking this support, these adjacent teeth can begin to shift and eventually collapse into the vacant space. Additionally, teeth in the opposing jaw may no longer be stabilized and erupt into the space of the missing tooth.
These factors can make it difficult or even impossible to eventually replace the missing tooth, requiring the removal of the teeth that have moved into the gap as well. The greater the number of teeth missing in your mouth, the more challenging it becomes to replace them.
Effects on jawbone and gums
Healthy teeth are part of a functioning system that includes your chewing musculature, supporting jaw structure, and gum tissue. Chewing against teeth provides stimulation to the outside of the jaw from the chewing muscles and to the inside of the jaw from the functioning of the tooth roots. When the interplay between your teeth, jaw structure, musculature and gum tissue is upset due to a lost tooth, this stimulation is reduced or removed. Accordingly, your jawbone starts shrinking and your gum tissue follows.
Effects on appearance Missing teeth and shrinking bone can no longer support your lips from the inside. The more teeth you lose, the more your face will change and look older and wrinkly. Your cheeks and lips are left without the necessary support, becoming hollow and saggy.
Effects of doing nothing Not repairing a damaged tooth, or failing to replace a missing tooth, can start a chain reaction of consequences eventually resulting in avoiding certain foods you find difficult to bite or chew.
Speak to your dentist
With the help of modern dental restorations, your smile and chewing function can be restored, and your jawbone will be protected from shrinking. These restorations also help stabilize the neighboring teeth and your entire mouth remain healthier.
Important safety information Treatment with dental implants is a surgical procedure and requires prior evaluation by your dentist to make sure your dental and general health permits dental implant treatment.Find out more.