Do Missing Teeth Cause Health Problems? Ask Your Rochester Periodontist

by | Apr 21, 2022

Health Impacts of Missing Teeth

For adults in the Rochester area, missing teeth can lead to health and emotional problems. Losing baby teeth is normal for children, but adults don’t have the luxury of growing new tooth as replacements.

If you’re only missing one tooth or some back teeth, you may not worry about fixing it. You may still be able to chew normally, and no one can see a missing back tooth when you smile. But failing to replace missing teeth can lead to health complications for the rest of your mouth and affect your overall health.1

What Causes Tooth Loss?

Children lose their “baby teeth” as part of natural development. In adults, however, tooth loss can occur from a variety of factors, including: 2

  • Periodontitis: This is the leading cause of tooth loss. When bacteria, plaque, and tartar build up on the teeth, it can cause an infection resulting in gum recession, tooth loosening, and bone erosion.
  • Tooth decay: Also known as cavities or caries, tooth decay is another primary cause of tooth loss. Bacteria builds up on the tooth plaque, feeding on the sugars in your diet. They release acids that decay your teeth, which can cause pain, a tooth fracture, or tooth loss.
  • Tooth Trauma: Tooth fracture or loss can be caused by trauma, such as an injury to the mouth from sports, hard food, or other reasons.

Missing Teeth Can Lead to Bone Loss

Your roots of your teeth help to support the bone of the jaw. If you lose a tooth, the roots are no longer embedded in the jawbone and the bone can erode. Missing teeth can also cause the remaining teeth to shift out of position, altering your entire mouth’s shape, health, and function.

Teeth can shift and move due to severe gum recession and gum disease, but you’re at a higher risk for shifting teeth when you are missing a tooth or multiple teeth. Over time, your bite may become misaligned and affect how you eat or drink. It’s also possible to experience headaches or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain.

Missing Teeth Can Affect Your Diet

Your beautiful smile isn’t the primary reason for your teeth. Each tooth in your mouth plays a role in eating, from tearing small bites to grinding down your food. When teeth are missing, it could significantly impact your ability to chew hard food.

You may compensate by eating on one side of your mouth, which can unevenly wear down your remaining teeth and leave them vulnerable to decay and other problems. Conversely, you may avoid eating foods that are uncomfortable to chew, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, leaving gaps in your diet and nutrition.

The Look of Your Smile Impacts Your Self-Esteem

If you have missing teeth or crooked teeth, you may begin to feel self-conscious about your smile. You may opt out on photos of important moments in your life, such as your child’s wedding or graduation, because you don’t want to smile for a picture.

In addition, this self-consciousness can spill over into all social situations – not just ones that involve pictures. If you don’t want to smile, you may not feel comfortable going out with friends, family, or dates. If you become withdrawn from this embarrassment, it can then impact your mental health.

Options for Missing Teeth

You have options if you lose a tooth to injury, decay, or gum disease. A periodontist can provide options to replace a missing tooth, such as dental implants or dentures.

Dental implants are recommended for their natural look and function for many patients. A dental implant consists of a titanium post that is implanted into the jawbone. Once the post has healed, an implant crown is placed on top to offer the look and feel of a natural tooth. Dental implants also allow you to eat most foods normally and smile without self-consciousness or embarrassment.

Get Help for Missing Teeth in Rochester

If you’ve experienced tooth loss from gum disease or other causes, you don’t have to suffer the effects on your health and self-esteem.

The Dental Implants & Periodontal Health of Rochester team can help you restore your dental health, replace your missing teeth, and get your beautiful smile back. Call us at 585-685-2005 or contact us online to discuss your options!

Sources:
[1] https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/fast-facts/tooth-loss/index.html
[2] https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/tooth-loss-truth-its-no-longer-about-the-tooth-fairy-202108252578

 

 

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