The average adult between the ages of 20 and 64 has three or more missing teeth. Missing teeth can be a result of a host of things, from cumulative decay to lack of dental hygiene to a one-time occurrence, like biting into a sticky caramel and the tooth coming with it.
Of course, your first thought with a missing tooth may have to do with how you look. If the tooth is in the front of your mouth, then this might significantly affect your appearance.
Missing teeth can actually present a number of other issues with your health, well-being, and daily life, as Linda K. Westmoreland, DDS, has seen in her Rolla and Salem, Missouri, practices. If you’re missing any of your teeth, Dr. Westmoreland and our team here at Wedgewood Dental are here to help you get your smile back.
We’re here to share the reasons why you shouldn’t ignore a missing tooth and what you can do about it.
If one of your teeth are missing, this may influence how you speak. Although we often don’t think about it, speech is created by the interaction of breath and vibrations between the structures of your teeth. Just one missing tooth can impact how you speak!
As a kid, it may be cute to have a lisp due to a few missing teeth. As an adult, maybe not so much. Immediately after you notice that you have a missing tooth, you may also have noticed difficulties with pronouncing certain sounds or a change in your speech. This is just one reason why you should see a dentist as soon as possible.
2. Difficulty with eating
Along with speech, a missing tooth may create difficulties with what, and how, you eat.
If you are missing a tooth in an area that helps you eat, like your front teeth or molars, then you may have trouble chewing tougher foods like meat and pizza. In the long term, avoiding treatment for your missing tooth may actually force you to shift your whole diet to accommodate what you can eat.
Unless you’re keen on having a liquid diet, make sure you address the missing tooth with your dentist as soon as you notice it.
3. Bone loss
This is the most serious effect of a missing tooth. While it happens in a small number of cases, it is possible that the surrounding teeth around the gap may shift in response to the missing tooth. This can impact your jaw structure, teeth straightness, and in the most severe cases -- cause bone loss.
There are many theories in the dental community about why this happens. Some think that the loss of a tooth leaves surrounding bone more vulnerable to bacteria, thus increasing the risk for overall bone loss. It could also have to do with a lack of natural stimulation in the site previously caused by chewing motions.
In any case, it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible, so that therapies to enhance bone growth can be implemented before any further treatment.
At the moment it happens, a missing tooth can seem like a calamity. But, there is always a solution, whether it be bridges, dentures, or implants.
Seeing your dentist as soon as possible after the event occurs ensures that your beautiful smile can be restored safely and quickly. If you have a missing tooth, or you’re wondering about treatment options, then call or book online to visit one of our Missouri offices today.