side effects of missing teeth

When you think about replacing your missing teeth, you may only have one for two factors that are your main motivators. But the effects of restoring your smile’s function are priceless. Here are just some of the advantages of what dental implants can do to improve your health and lifestyle. 

Better Diet and Nutrient Absorption

One of the biggest health impacts of tooth loss is changes to your diet. All too often, seniors with missing teeth are restricted to soft diets that typically consist of processed foods. These meals usually don’t have the same nutritional value as the type of foods they ate previously, especially since they cannot bite or chew things like fresh fruits, vegetables, firm proteins, or dense whole grains. 

Even with dentures, chewing abilities are significantly reduced to a fraction of what’s possible with natural teeth. 

When you cannot chew the foods you’re eating, or you’re limited to a soft diet, you’ll tend to see a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals, as well as poor nutrient absorption (because your digestive tract cannot break down your food if you aren’t chewing well.) 

Dental implants allow you to eat and chew normally, essentially eliminating this major health concern. 

Improved Speech 

Changes in your bite can impact your natural speaking patterns. Remember how young children sound when they lose their two front teeth? Your tongue uses all of your oral anatomy to form speech sounds. Depending on which teeth are gone and how many are missing, your speech can also change as you get older. 

This concern is fairly significant for people who wear dentures. Transitioning to a removable “plate” that rests across the top of your mouth requires re-learning how to form many letter sounds with your tongue and lips. It can take several days, or even weeks before you feel fairly comfortable talking on the phone or with a friend. 

By replacing missing teeth with dental implants, you’re able to maintain natural tooth design and function as it relates to speaking, singing, whistling…you name it. Implants don’t interfere with other parts of your mouth since they’re modeled after anatomical teeth, so there’s no bulky plate getting in the way of things. 

Reduced Bone Loss (Resorption)

Resorption is a natural shrinkage process that occurs in areas of tooth loss, trauma, and periodontal disease. In the case of missing teeth, it’s natural to see bone height in your jaw gradually start to shorten. 

Fortunately, dental implants are made out of a material that’s naturally attractive to bone tissues. It’s called titanium, and it’s extremely biocompatible. Titanium is also used for a variety of surgical procedures in the field of medicine, because of its ability to promote healthy bone integration and being hypoallergenic. 

Setting a dental implant into your bone triggers a process known as osseointegration. This phenomenon is where your bone recognizes the titanium and is immediately drawn to it, creating a new layer of bony tissue against the surface of the implant. Full osseointegration permanently fuses your implant into place, making it a fixed part of your smile. Yet it also benefits your jaws, teeth, and facial profile, because it promotes higher quality bone in areas where resorption would otherwise take place. 

Delays Premature Aging

Any time you lose a tooth or have one extracted, the bone in that immediate area begins to resorb, or shrink.With extensive tooth and bone loss, you’ll start to see sunken-in, sullen facial features that make you look older than you really are. Tooth loss simply speeds up the physical aging process. 

By installing dental implants and strengthening the bone in those areas (see above) you can maintain the natural height of your jaws. Plus, the fixed implant restoration will also add fullness and support behind your cheeks and lips. With the added depth and support of your soft and hard tissues, you’re able to maintain your natural facial profile and the appearance you had before you lost your teeth.  

Retention of Your Remaining Teeth

Dental implants are the only tooth replacement treatment that is non-invasive to healthy teeth. Since they do not rely on adjacent teeth for support, an implant can sit right alongside of a natural tooth without altering its structure whatsoever. With partial dentures and bridges, that is not the case; both of these restorations can weaken the supporting teeth over time, causing gradual deterioration to your smile. 

And since implants help promote healthy bone through osseointegration, they will prevent bone loss next to the neighboring teeth. Otherwise, those teeth would experience loss of bone height on the side nearest the missing tooth. In time, the lack of bone could cause tooth mobility and loss in otherwise healthy teeth. 

Implants act like placeholders, preserving natural tooth spacing and alignment. The sooner you replace your missing tooth with an implant, the less likely you are to experience any shifting or changes in the way your teeth bite together. Similar to how bookends help prevent several books from tilting over whenever you take one off the shelf. 

Boosts Your Self Esteem

Missing teeth can cause you to feel self-conscious to the point that you avoid social interaction with friends, family, or colleagues. Something as simple as posing for a selfie may be completely out of the question. 

When you feel great about the way your teeth look, you’ll want to show your smile off more often. You’ll smile more frequently, laugh freely, and even find yourself chatting with more people. It’s subconscious, but it’s true; replacing your missing teeth can transform everything from your personal level of confidence to your social and professional life. It’s an investment in your quality of life just as much as it is in your oral health. 

Complimentary Implant Consultations

ARCHPOINT offers no-fuss, complimentary dental implant evaluations in DFW. If you’re still trying to decide whether implants are right for you, or you just want to find out if you qualify, then it’s time to talk to one of our smile reconstruction experts. Contact us today to reserve your free consultation.