How a Missing Tooth Affects Your Oral Health
You might be surprised to learn that the average American between the ages of 20 and 64 has seven teeth missing from their mouth. This is unfortunate, because missing teeth can lead to a whole host of oral issues, as well as impacting your general health. In most cases, the loss of teeth is a preventable situation, and most teeth can be repaired rather than extracted.
Impacts of missing teeth on oral health
There are quite a few ways that missing teeth can have an impact on your oral health:
- oral infections – a missing tooth leaves an area of gum tissue in your mouth exposed to all the acids and other harmful agents that can cause an infection. If you do get an oral infection, it’s very possible that it could spread around your body, and cause other serious issues.
- chewing problems – depending on the specific location of your missing tooth, it might cause chewing problems for you. If you’re missing molars, you might have trouble grinding up hard foods like nuts. A missing tooth in front can prevent you from biting off chunks of food.
- chronic headaches – having a missing tooth can often trigger a chain reaction that ends up with you getting headaches or migraines.
- speech issues – losing one or more teeth can impact the way you talk, sometimes making it difficult to pronounce certain words or sounds.
- jawbone deterioration – when you’re missing teeth in your mouth, the sections of jawbone in that area receives no further stimulation. That causes healthy jawbone to deteriorate and if the tooth isn’t replaced, the jawbone will actually recede and cause drooping facial muscles.
- tooth decay – having missing teeth makes it harder to brush and floss properly, and this can lead to excessive tooth decay.
- limited diet – when you’re missing some teeth, it becomes harder to chew foods like fruits, vegetables, and nuts. This can cause your diet to become restricted, and can lead to malnutrition if not corrected.
How to handle missing teeth
If you happen to live in the area around Colorado Springs, you’re in luck because the best dentist is located here, at HollowBrook Dental. After you get an evaluation from your dentist, there are several approaches he/she might recommend:
- tooth-supported bridge – existing teeth are used to support a dental bridge which gets installed
- implant-supported bridge – dental implants support a bridge installed where you may have multiple teeth missing
- dental implant – a titanium screw is inserted into the jawbone, where it fuses with the bone, and is then used to support a crown on top
- flippers – these are small, partial dentures used when you only have one or two missing teeth
- dentures – dentures are used to replace a number of missing teeth, often an entire upper or lower arch of teeth
Consult with your HollowBrook Dental specialist to determine which of these options is most appropriate for your circumstances.