While it’s not at all uncommon for the average American adult to have one or more missing teeth, there’s a broad misunderstanding about the importance of replacing them. When asked why patients think that a tooth should be replaced, they most often bring up topics of aesthetic appearance and eating ability. These are both benefits of replacing missing teeth, but they are not the most important reasons from a dental health standpoint. If you’ve got an absent tooth or teeth and are wondering whether a replacement is in order, keep reading. You may be surprised to discover how vital that restoration is to your overall health.
Your Teeth Are All Part Of A System
Have you spent the time to get a close look at your teeth? Each of them is a specific shape and has a role to play in the maceration and digestion of your food. Incisors slice, canines rip and tear, and molars grind food to make it easier to digest and thus get the most nutrition out of. Losing even one tooth puts additional wear and tear on the remaining teeth. Losing more than one means that the lifespan of all your teeth has been drastically shortened as a result of the extra stress they’ll be under.
Missing Teeth And Your Jawbone
It doesn’t stop with wear-and-tear either! When you’re missing a tooth, there’s a hollow spot in your jaw where it used to reside. Without the need to support that tooth, your jawbone naturally shrinks and casts off healthy bone material. This can have a deleterious effect on the stability and lifespan of your remaining teeth and jaw alike. The longer you go without having a dental replacement, the less likely it is that that portion of your jaw will be able to support a dental implant. The sooner you get a replacement, the better chances you have of avoiding a bone graft being required.
Misalignment And The Absent Tooth
Another important part your teeth play is supporting their neighboring teeth. All of that extra pressure and wear and tear we mentioned earlier is happening without the benefit of all your teeth supporting each other. This can lead to your teeth, twisting out of alignment due to the pressure you’re placing on them. The more teeth you’re missing, the weaker the support system for the rest of your remaining teeth is. Replacement teeth help restore this support and ensure that your teeth don’t move out of alignment.
These are just a small selection of reasons why replacing your missing teeth is important for your whole-body health. Want to learn more? Dr. Alireza Movassaghi and the team at Alvarado Family Dental Center works with the Alvarado, CA community to provide dental education for their patient family. This happens as part of your regular preventative care and serves to help patients take better care of their teeth. Don’t let a missing tooth impact the health and appearance of your smile. Call us immediately to arrange an appointment and see what restoring your smile can do for you!