Many adults at one time or another will lose a tooth. Many people, whether due to neglect, trauma, or just old age, will lose many or all of their teeth. Missing teeth can have a significant impact not only on one’s appearance, but also on self-confidence and overall health.
Lets look at some statistics:
- 20% of patients with dentures don’t wear both removable prosthesis all the time (NIH Oral health of US adults national findings Publ No87 1987)
- 7% of edentulous patients are not able to wear their dentures at all (NIH)
- 88% of denture wearers have difficulty with speech
- 62.5% of lower denture wearers had awareness of movement
- 50% of denture wearers avoided certain food
- 17% of denture wearers masticated better without prosthesis
- 16.5% of lower denture wearers never wear denture
Our smile, and therefore our teeth, is a big part of what makes us look like us. Missing teeth can significantly impact a person’s appearance. People with bad or missing teeth often avoid smiling, and try to cover their mouths when they do smile. They often avoid social or business situations because they are embarrassed about their teeth. Many miss out on important activities and other life experiences because of their bad teeth, their missing teeth, or their dentures.
Beyond appearance, missing teeth can have a significant impact on a person’s self-confidence. People with missing teeth often express a feeling of loss: that they have lost their youthfulness, or their sex appeal, or their ability to speak in public, or to be active. It is only after their teeth are lost that many people realize that a healthy mouth is necessary for maintaining a good quality of life.
Dentures can help restore a “smile”, but can fall short on addressing the overall issue of confidence. Dentures often slip, and can even fall out during activities, or when eating. Dentures may address the cosmetic problems caused by missing teeth, but often don’t solve the functional problems that result in lower self-confidence and quality of life.
As teeth are lost, it becomes more difficult to eat and chew food. Dentures and partials only give 20 – 50% of natural tooth function. With reduced function there is an increase in soft, starchy food intake due to difficulty in biting and chewing. And decrease in intake of food, such as raw fruits and vegetables, which are so needed for healthy nutrition.
Denture adhesive has long been used profusely to secure loose fitting dentures. In addition to the bad taste and uncomfortable feeling the pasty substance produces, the safety of denture adhesive is now in question. Most denture adhesives contain zinc, which might cause serious neurological problems.
Studies show that people who are missing all their teeth have an average lifespan 10 years shorter than their peers with teeth due to poor nutrition.
Teeth provide more functions than just the ability to chew. They are necessary for the health of the gums, jaw, and other teeth, as well. The effects of missing teeth can be detrimental to long-term oral and medical health.
As soon as a tooth is lost from gum disease or an extraction, the supporting bone in the jaw begins to dissolve. This process is called resorption. The longer a tooth is missing, the greater the bone loss. Over time, more and more of the jawbone disintegrates until it becomes weak and noticeably smaller.
Once the jaw bone starts to deteriorate, its effects are a downhill slide, much like soil erosion without trees and plants to anchor it. It can cause facial collapse, a condition in which the jaw and mouth shrink and the lips thin and elongate. Other effects include wrinkles around the mouth, decrease in facial height, loss of muscles of facial expression and negative facial esthetic skin changes. The jawbone can get so thin that nerves get exposed and become very painful. Without natural teeth or dental implants bone just keeps disappearing.
AN OFF-BITE RELATIONSHIP
Having gaps where teeth are missing affects the way the jaw closes. For example, an opposing tooth will tilt or drift into an open space left by a missing tooth (teeth) causing the opposing jaw line to have bite-relationship problems. TMJ (acute and chronic pain and problems with the jaw joint) may be caused by unattended tooth loss. In addition, food can become trapped in open spaces, increasing the risk of decay and gum disease.
With missing teeth, opposing and adjacent teeth start to move to fill the empty spaces. Remaining teeth become highly susceptible to cavities and gum problems. Many times, remaining teeth move out so much that additional teeth extractions become necessary.
FOR ALL THESE REASONS, REPLACING MISSING TEETH IS ESSENTIAL IN TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR APPEARANCE, YOUR HEALTH AND YOUR LIFE — AND DENTAL IMPLANTS ARE THE MOST EFFECTIVE METHOD FOR TOOTH REPLACEMENT. CONTACT US TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW DENTAL IMPLANTS CAN HELP YOU.