Why Replace Lost Teeth? – The Cost of Not Replacing a Missing Tooth

It is estimated that around that almost 180 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and over 40 million Americans don’t have any teeth at all.  The loss of a tooth can occur for a variety of reasons including injury, decay, breakage, cancer, injury, smoking, and gum disease.  Regardless of why a tooth is missing, do you know the cost of not replacing a missing tooth?

One of the risks of not replacing a missing tooth is continued bone loss. This bone loss, also known as bone resorption, occurs after a tooth is missing because the roots of the tooth are no longer in the bone of the jaw, leaving a space, and since there is nothing for the bone to hold onto, the jawbone will begin to deteriorate. This bone loss can also impact the teeth around the space, and even affect your facial appearance.  Without replacing the missing tooth, you may find that your face shape change, and you may find your lips appear sunken and uneven.

Another significant risk of not replacing a missing tooth is the reduced ability to eat certain types of foods. Depending on which tooth or teeth are missing, it may become difficult to bite into and properly chew certain foods. In an attempt to avoid biting and chewing near the missing tooth, you’ll likely begin overusing other teeth to compensate for the missing tooth or teeth. This overuse of other teeth can lead to sore and achy teeth and even a sore jaw. In addition, adjacent teeth on either side of the space may begin to move, leaning into the space area, and the opposing tooth that the missing tooth bites against will begin to over erupt into the missing tooth space. This change in biting surfaces can also make chewing more difficult, and can eventually lead to diminished health and poor nutrition. For example, a common side effect of missing teeth can be digestive issues as you begin to eat softer foods or don’t fully chew foods before swallowing.

If certain teeth are missing, such as the ones in the front, it can also impact the way you speak and your ability to clearly pronounce certain words. You may develop a lisp or a change in how you pronounce certain words and sounds. 

Missing a tooth can affect your self esteem. If a space from the missing tooth can be seen when you smile, eat, or speak, you may start to avoid smiling, eating, and speaking to people in public. This can have a significant impact on your social life, your job, and as a result, the amount of money you are able to earn at your job. If gum disease develops due to the missing tooth, you may begin to experience bad breath, as well. Depending on your age, career path, and relationship status, the lifetime costs of a missing tooth can really add up if you’re not confident to smile, eat, or speak in front of other people.

There are several options available to fill the spaces left by missing teeth including removable partial dentures, fixed bridges, and dental implants. Dental implants are sturdy, durable, and compared to the other options, a much longer lasting option. In addition to offering all those benefits, dental implants can also help to preserve your jawbone because the titanium post used for the implant will actually fuse with the jawbone over time. This helps to continue stimulating growth and minimizes the potential for bone loss. Dental implants can also help restore your confidence because once the process is complete they look and feel and function like real teeth.

There is no question that dealing with a missing tooth can be a stressful and concerning situation. However, if you speak with your dentist, you will quickly learn there are many replacement options available to help fit your lifestyle and budget. Getting to know the risks of not replacing a missing tooth can help you see why you shouldn’t wait to decide on a solution. There is no reason to allow your oral health to suffer when you can easily restore your oral health, and your beautiful smile.

As always, you should feel free to ask you dentist any questions about your missing teeth and your options to restore them. We are always here to help you too. Please feel free to contact us with any of your dental issues at www.SaremiJohnstoneDentistry.com, or at (805)496-7776.

We look forward to seeing you soon!