Tooth loss isn’t necessarily a “natural” part of aging. It’s the result of past trauma, disease, injuries, infections, and even habits or family history. Like a lot of people, you might not truly miss your teeth until they’re finally gone. But whether you’ve lost teeth naturally or have decided to get them removed for another reason, there are several side effects of tooth loss that you need to be aware of.
Bone Resorption from Tooth Loss
“Resorption” is a naturally occurring shrinkage in your bone structure. Any time a tooth falls out or is extracted, we see the bone in that immediate area begin to resorb. This phenomenon weakens the jaw at that location but it also jeopardizes the integrity of the teeth on either side of it. Unfortunately, once the bone is gone, there’s really no way to get it to grow back on its own.
Tooth Loss Causes Shifting Teeth
The extra space created by a missing tooth is like taking a book off of a bookshelf – the ones on either side of it will start to tilt or drift into that space. Your current tooth acts as a placeholder and support for its neighbors. When you combine shifting teeth with bone resorption, it can jeopardize the integrity and biting power of the teeth that you still have.
“Super-eruption” is where a tooth begins to erupt further out of the socket, looking for a biting partner. In this case, it’s the tooth opposite of your missing tooth. Without a tooth to bite against, the opposing tooth drifts further and further out of its natural socket, weakening the support around the roots. So not only are the teeth next to your missing tooth starting to move, so are the ones opposite it. This dilemma creates a chain reaction throughout your bite overall, impacting tooth alignment in other parts of your mouth.
Sunken-in Facial Features (Premature Aging)
As your bone begins to thin out and shrink, the height of your jaws starts to shorten overall. From the outside, your face looks shorter, your lips and cheeks start to sink inward, and your youthful profile begins to fade. Tooth loss adds to the “age” of your face, even if everything else seems just fine.
Limited Diet Because of Tooth Loss
When you have fewer teeth to chew with, the types of foods you’re able to eat become more limited. Firmer textures like various meats, crisp vegetables, or even French bread can be extremely difficult to work into your meals. You’ll probably find that you’re cutting your food up into smaller pieces, opting for softer or more processed textures, and starting to experience premature wear on one side of your mouth. If you have missing teeth on one side, there’s a good chance you’re only chewing on the opposite one.
Tooth loss causes overall atypical chewing and biting. So when your jaw joint is trying to compromise for it, strain to those muscles and ligaments is natural. TMJ pain doesn’t occur overnight, but gradual TMJ disorder can develop over time if your smile isn’t restored.
Self-Consciousness from Tooth Loss
Depending on where your missing tooth is located, you might be too embarrassed to smile around friends, pose in photos with family, or even laugh around your coworkers. The impact of just one missing tooth on your self-esteem can have a huge impact on your quality of life. Even if you have a removable prosthesis like a denture or partial, you might still feel uncomfortable talking or eating around other people.
How Dental Implants Can Help
Fortunately, dental implants in DFW can help halt the progression of unwanted side effects caused by tooth loss. Here’s how:
Add Bone Stability
When a dental implant is set into the bone, it triggers a natural process called “osseointegration.” Osseointegration is where a new layer of bone is formed onto the surface of the dental implant, fusing it permanently into the jaw. Once fully integrated, the implant and surrounding bone are stabilized, reducing any weakening in that immediate area of your jaw. In turn, it helps to stabilize the placement and alignment of your surrounding teeth. It’s the osseointegration process that makes implants so long-lasting and predictable. So long as you keep your implants and the gums around them clean, you can expect your investment to last for the rest of your life.
Support a Youthful Facial Profile
Installing dental implants allows you to preserve the natural “height” of your arch of teeth. In turn, the structure of your smile naturally fills out your facial profile. Your lips, cheeks, and chin no longer seem sullen or sunken-in, as there are “teeth” resting behind them.
Dental implants are extremely durable. You can eat whatever you like, without having to opt for softer textures or smaller bites. Having the ability to eat a balanced diet means improved nutritional absorption. Implants have no dietary restrictions, being that you can eat the same things you would before you had missing teeth. If you’re currently wearing dentures, the shift back to dental implants will give you the freedom to go back to “the way things were” before you lost your teeth.
A beautiful, healthy smile is priceless. When you feel great about the way your teeth look, you’ll be more prone to smile and laugh around other people. And survey after survey shows that people with healthy, attractive smiles tend to be seen as friendlier and make great first impressions. Some even suggest that more attractive teeth can help you land that job interview and get offered a higher salary. So the investment in replacing your missing teeth isn’t always just an emotional or cosmetic one; it can affect numerous aspects of your lifestyle.
Dental Implants in Fort Worth, Dallas
ARCHPOINT Implant Dentistry provides comprehensive implant therapy in DFW. Whether you’re missing one or two teeth or are on a mission to restore your entire smile, our experts are here to help. Learn more about the dental implant experience and find out if they’re right for you. Contact ARCHPOINT today to request a consultation.