How Tooth Loss Affects Your Oral Health

The average adult in the United States is missing about seven teeth. Meanwhile, persons aged 20 and 64 years have an increased chance of losing at least three teeth in their lifetime. Additionally, this same group is more at risk of developing gum disease. The age range spans a wide generation gap that possibly indicates something is amiss with oral care among adults in the US. Apart from the apparent absence of some dentition, there are other areas it impacts, and below are a few.

Loss of some dental functions

Losing a tooth alone can severely impact your ability to masticate food properly. Whether it is a front tooth, a premolar, or a molar, every single dentition has a role to play. Therefore, the absence can affect how the remaining teeth coordinate to bite, chew or even speak. Especially when the loss is in the front, regardless of whether it is an upper or lower tooth, it can lead to some forms of lisp.

Furthermore, few adults know that the adjacent ones migrate gradually to fill up the space created by the lost teeth. This can alter dental function when healthy teeth begin to overcompensate for the loss in the long run. In other words, every tooth relies on the other’s presence to maintain its natural position.

Can impact visual appeal or alter facial appearance

Everybody has a distinct facial structure, and dentition plays a vital role in ensuring that. This is why persons with a significant amount of dental loss may lose some visual appeal. In offering structure, your dentition defines the jawline and facial muscles. However, this vital support is lost in the case of missing teeth, leading to a significant amount of sunken cheeks, sinking lips, and changes in the jawline.

Usually, this ‘look’ is not too surprising among senior citizens over 80 years and with significant teeth loss. However, if you are younger than that but have already lost your visual appeal due to missing teeth, it might be time to receive specialist help. You can check this website https://malekperiodontics.com/ to read more about the kind of care and treatment available for your peculiar situation.

Increased risks of oral infections

After missing some teeth, the remaining dentitions begin to move to fill the gap. While at it, the exposed gum starts to recede and contract, and some teeth migrate. The process leads to pocket formations in different parts of the oral cavity. And when these little pouches form in the mouth, they become prime breeding grounds for bacteria. If left untreated, it can increase your risk of oral infections that can aggravate your overall wellbeing. Common oral infections that can arise are periodontitis, gum ulcers, and tooth decay in the remaining dentition.

Jawbone shrinkage

Your jawbone does more than provide support for your teeth. What few people know is that they require regular stimulation to remain healthy. This explains why in the absence of teeth, they can deteriorate rapidly and lose healthy bone condition. So, how does the jawbone receive this stimulus? First of all, they get this from the roots of every tooth.

Therefore, without timely and appropriate dental procedures, the jawbone could lose vital mineral quality. That ultimately inhibits the fixing of dental implants. At that point, the only viable option might be removable dentures or bridges. For this reason, dentists usually recommend replacing missing teeth within a few days of losing them. Waiting too long could pose more problems than imagined.

Stress on soft tissue in the oral cavity

When jawbone deterioration sets in, the gum in that space loses its natural and original width over time. It also thins out the gum in that area, making it more prone to injuries when chewing foods with a rough texture. Apart from the increased risk of causing damages to the gum, the tongue overcompensates, too, a condition called Macroglossia. This happens because the tongue ‘detects’ an emptiness in the oral cavity. For that reason, it grows slightly larger to fill up the ‘room.’ Therefore, the more teeth lost, the harder the tongue works to increase its original size to compensate for the loss.

Altered dental alignment

According to dentists and periodontists, a natural dental alignment is when the upper teeth rest gently on the lower teeth. There are no sharp deviations, crookedness, or teeth leaning awkwardly into surrounding soft tissue in the oral cavity. Unfortunately, when people lose some of their teeth, it could develop into dental misalignment over the years if left unattended. When this happens, people experience difficulty in accessing all the teeth when cleaning.

Furthermore, it can cause considerable pain when biting into food or chewing. The sad part about dental misalignment is the fact that it can lead to further tooth loss. This happens because of the undue pressure placed on the remaining teeth, which subsequently weakens the roots.

Tooth sensitivity 

With missing teeth, adjacent ones lose some form of protection. Remember that you read earlier that all the teeth in the oral cavity rely on each other for support. Therefore, an absence may increase the risks of exposing other roots. As a result, people with missing teeth tend to experience tooth sensitivity a lot more than those with complete natural teeth.

Increased teeth grinding

When tooth loss is on one side of the oral cavity, the other side automatically takes on the weight. Unfortunately, this increases the chances of developing bruxism or teeth grinding. To avoid this from happening, dentists would usually recommend an implant or a dental bridge to balance the weight on both sides.

Sinus expansion

This is more common when the lost teeth come from the back upper jaw. Because the sinus is located in the upper back jaw areas, people with missing teeth are more prone to sinus expansion. When that happens, it causes the jaw bone to erode quicker and weakens the jaw bone from taking in a dental implant.

More often than not, people tend to underrate the ripple effects of missing dentition. It is more than having an imperfect smile. Therefore, hopefully, you will take action to resolve your missing teeth problem to enjoy a better quality of life.

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.
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