When it comes to dentistry, one of the most common problems people face are missing teeth. In fact, studies show that at least 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. That number is staggering considering all the downsides of having missing teeth. Not only is your overall health at risk, but there is also a social stigma associated with teeth problems.
However, thanks to medical innovations, there are a lot of solutions for people dealing with missing teeth. For example, the dentures at NextGen Dental & Orthodontics look great and provide the same feeling as natural teeth. Nevertheless, it’s important to know why missing teeth are so common and what the dangers of ignoring them are.
The Most Common Causes Of Missing Teeth
From tooth decay to trauma, there are a lot of ways in which people tend to lose their teeth. While some are more common than others, knowing all of the causes of tooth loss is important for prevention.
- Tooth Decay: Poor dental hygiene will lead to tooth decay which, in turn, leads to teeth falling out. Additionally, tobacco use and nutritional deficiencies are likely to trigger tooth decay.
- Dental Trauma: Unfortunately, dental trauma is one of the most painful ways to lose teeth. It’s also harder to fix, as it may require surgery if the bone is also damaged.
- Health Issues: There are a few health conditions that are linked with missing teeth. For example, diabetes is a disease that can cause teeth to fall off because of its ties to blood sugar levels.
How Can Missing Teeth Affect My Life?
While missing teeth are uncomfortable and unattractive, they can also cause health problems. In fact, oral infections and chronic headaches are most likely the results of ignored missing teeth.
- Speech Issues: Teeth are extremely important when speaking as they affect the formation of sounds and words. As such, the more teeth you lose, the more difficult it will be to speak. Additionally, a missing tooth can create a whistling sound when trying to create specific sounds.
- Eating Problems: Depending on what teeth you are missing, specific foods will be harder or even impossible to chew. For example, a missing front tooth can make biting harder while missing molars will affect chewing.
- Oral Infections: Missing teeth are known to increase the chances of oral infections. That’s because the exposed area where the tooth used to be is prone to bacteria growth. If left untreated, the infection could spread, affecting the rest of the body.
- Chronic Headaches: Whenever we lose a tooth, our biting pattern changes slightly. Sometimes, that can cause migraines or similar problems.
What Can I Do If I Have Missing Teeth?
By now, it should be pretty obvious that teeth replacement needs to be your priority. Luckily, there are a few options that you can choose when it comes to fixing a missing tooth. Just keep in mind that your dentist may recommend a different solution than the one you want, depending on your specific situation.
According to Wikipedia, dentures are prosthetic devices that replace missing teeth and are supported by the surrounding tissues of the oral cavity. Generally speaking, dentures are made of acrylic or metal, with the former looking better and the latter being more durable. Additionally, your dentist can opt for partial dentures if you still have natural teeth, or complete dentures, if you lack any teeth.
Although dentures are great at protecting the gum, they can’t prevent bone loss. That’s because dentures don’t put enough pressure on the bone in order to stimulate its growth. As such, people that undergo this procedure should get regular X-rays in order to monitor the bone loss rate.
When it comes to durability and looks, you can’t find anything better than implants. They manage to accurately emulate the feeling of a natural tooth, while also lasting longer than dentures. The process of getting implants is complex and it involves fusing a titanium support to the jaw. Then, the dentist fits the fake tooth into the same support using a screw-like system.
Furthermore, there is also the option of denture implants, which combine the durability of implants with the appeal of dentures. Also known as all-on-four or all-on-six implants, these prosthetics are common in people who are missing random teeth.
Bridges are filler teeth that mount to existing teeth on both sides of the area missing a tooth. That’s why bridges are perfect for filling gaps and covering the gum.
However, there are a few drawbacks that you should know before getting a bridge. Particularly that food and bacteria can accumulate underneath the bridge, meaning that you need to pay extra attention when brushing your teeth. Additionally, since bridges mount on existing teeth, there is the danger of damaging already healthy teeth.
How Can I Prevent Missing Teeth?
Even though fixing missing teeth is easier than ever, prevention will always be the best solution. Having good oral hygiene is the best way for you to keep your teeth healthy. The following list of tips should help you maintain your oral hygiene:
- Brush Your Teeth: You should make sure that you brush your teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. That way, you will remove bacteria and prevent tooth decay.
- Avoid Sugar: Foods and drinks rich in sugar are the main cause of tooth decay. You can end up losing most of your teeth if you don’t reduce the amount of sugar you consume.
- Visit Your Dentist Regularly: Frequent dentist check-ups are a must if you are looking to maintain good oral hygiene. Dentists are more likely to notice problems such as tooth decay or plaque before you do.
- Avoid Tobacco And Alcohol: Both tobacco and alcohol are known to cause receding gum lines and tooth decay. So you should cut those if you want to keep your teeth healthy.
Overall, you should consider missing teeth as a red flag that warrants a dentist visit. Keep in mind that ignoring the issue can lead to even more pain and health problems. In fact, you may even end up losing the rest of your healthy teeth if you don’t do anything about it.
All in all, dealing with missing teeth can be hard, sometimes even overwhelming, but that shouldn’t discourage you from getting help. The faster you act, the more likely to save the rest of your teeth, so call your dentist now!