6 Unexpected Consequences of a Missing Tooth

6 Unexpected Consequences of a Missing Tooth

It’s no secret a lost tooth can have a substantial impact on your day-to-day life. After all, we rely on our teeth every day. If you lose one, simple tasks like chewing become much more difficult.

That’s why it’s important to consult with an oral surgeon sooner rather than later if you lose a tooth. They can likely replace it with some form of substitute, such as a dental implant.

Make sure you schedule your appointment as soon as possible. Difficult chewing is by no means the only consequence of a missing tooth. Other problems that may arise include the following:

Shrinking Jawbone

Your jawbone naturally supports your teeth. However, when a tooth is missing, the jawbone no longer has anything to support in that spot. In addition, the presence of the tooth stimulates the jawbone. When a tooth is no longer providing the stimulation, the bone starts to shrink and recede.

This can have a negative impact on your facial appearance. It may also leave the adjacent teeth more vulnerable to problems such as plaque buildup and dental decay.

Luckily, this process doesn’t begin immediately, and it can be halted. If you replace the missing tooth with a dental implant or similar substitute, the jawbone will once again receive the necessary stimulation. This prevents it from shrinking.

That’s a key reason why it’s important to consult with an oral surgeon as soon as possible if you lose a tooth. While it does take a relatively long time for the jawbone to start shrinking, the process of receiving a dental implant can also require several months. The sooner you act, the better the odds you’ll avoid jawbone loss.

Loss of Confidence

This may seem like a fairly minor consequence when compared to such health issues as a shrinking jawbone. That said, it is worth noting that people who lose teeth often tend to lose confidence in their appearance as a result.

The indirect ways in which this may affect your lifestyle are important to keep in mind. If you’re no longer confident in your appearance, you may not be confident enough to make a good impression on a potential employer, go on a date with a potential partner, or simply engage in social activities you once enjoyed.

Of course, a missing tooth is nothing to be ashamed of, but that doesn’t change the fact that many people with missing teeth often feel self-conscious about their appearance. This is another reason it’s a good idea to seek help from an oral surgeon as soon as you lose a tooth.

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Shifting Teeth

Teeth can shift in the mouth over time for a variety of reasons. However, the loss of a tooth makes this much more likely to occur. When there’s a gap next to a tooth, that tooth can easily shift to fill into the gap. This allows the other neighboring teeth to begin shifting too. Fortunately, a dental implant can fill in the gap, guarding against this problem.

Lack of Nutrition

This is an indirect effect of tooth loss that can nonetheless significantly impact your health. Because missing teeth make chewing more difficult, it’s not uncommon for people with missing teeth to stop eating as much as they did previously, or to avoid certain foods. Over time, this can prevent them from receiving proper nutrition. Of course, lack of nutrition can itself lead to a range of other problems. Avoid them by getting in touch with an oral surgeon to discuss your options for replacing any missing teeth.

Speech Difficulties

Many people don’t realize just how substantial a role their teeth play in speech. However, several words in the English language require us to (unconsciously) place the tongue against the teeth. The word “teeth” is one such example; try saying it without your tongue resting against your upper front teeth and you’ll find it’s impossible! Other words with the th- sound, as in “father,” also involve the tongue in this position.

You don’t need to be told how challenging basic communication would be if your speech was impaired. Similarly, speech impairments can also make people feel self-conscious and uncomfortable in social situations.

Gum Disease

Just as the jawbone begins to recede when a tooth is missing, so too can the gums. This may eventually result in pockets where bits of food can collect and bacteria can grow. In this way, a missing tooth puts you at greater risk of gum disease.

None of these points are meant to scare you. On the contrary, they’re simply meant to highlight the importance of taking swift action when you lose a tooth. With a dental implant, you’ll get a substitute that looks and functions exactly like the real thing. Your oral surgeon can review your condition and determine if this is the right treatment option for you.