Missing One or More Teeth? 6 Reasons to Fill the Gap and Restore Your Smile
Benefits of Replacing Missing Teeth
Are you living with one or more missing teeth or facing upcoming extractions? Tooth loss is a big problem for adults in America, with the average person missing 12 teeth by age 50, including the four wisdom teeth often extracted in early adulthood. Thankfully, modern dentistry has several options that can replace missing teeth and help you regain a full and healthy smile.
Here are six important reasons why you should replace missing teeth as quickly as possible, rather than leaving gaps in your smile.
1. Protects proper bite alignment.
Teeth rely on one another for support and to align themselves properly. When a tooth is removed, the neighboring teeth tend to move into the gap, sometimes even tilting or rotating from their original position.
Shifting teeth take on a crooked or gapped appearance and can change your bite alignment. You might find that teeth that didn’t touch are now grinding into each other, and jaw pain can develop from a TMJ disorder stemming from a poor bite. Dentures and dental implants stop teeth from shifting by providing the structural support and stability your teeth need to remain properly aligned.
2. Preserves healthy jawbone density.
Bone remodeling is the natural process in which old and damaged bone is gradually broken down and resorbed by the body, followed by the growth of new bone. The process constantly happens within your body, but bone resorption can sometimes occur faster than bone growth, especially in the jaw.
Each tooth has a root planted firmly within your jawbone. In addition to keeping your teeth securely aligned, each tooth root stimulates the jawbone and encourages normal bone remodeling. When tooth loss occurs, the bone will gradually begin to shrink away since the tooth roots are no longer encouraging new bone growth at an adequate pace.
Dentures may slow bone loss somewhat, but dental implants are the only solution that actually mimics the function of a tooth’s root. Once healed, the implanted post will act like a titanium root, encouraging healthy jawbone density and halting bone resorption.
3. Maintains a youthful appearance.
Missing teeth can dramatically age your face, and the aforementioned bone resorption is mostly to blame. When your jawbone shrinks, it alters your facial shape because your cheeks will sink inward, and your jaw will appear small. Wrinkles will eventually follow, and many people also notice that their lips appear to sink inward, especially if they’re missing several, or all, of their front teeth.
Partial and full dentures will give fullness back to your cheeks, but since it doesn’t stop bone resorption entirely, you may still develop premature aging. We usually recommend dental implants or implant-supported dentures to bring long-lasting results and a youthful appearance that matches your age.
4. Boosts your self-confidence.
Many people pursue prosthodontic care solely for this fourth benefit. Tooth loss can negatively affect your self-confidence, and often in quite subtle ways. You might not notice that you’re subconsciously minimizing your smile, speech, or laughter because you don’t want people to see the gaps. Or you may be very aware of how poorly you feel mentally about your tooth loss.
Modern dentures and dental implant options are extremely realistic and designed to look exactly like a natural smile. Your dentist will ensure your prosthetics fit comfortably, match your face shape and size, and the teeth are colored to a desirable shade of white. We bet you’ll find yourself showing off your new smile and experiencing the mental health boost that comes with renewed self-confidence.
5. Improves your speech.
Tooth loss, especially in the front teeth, can change your speech. You might develop a lisp or have trouble speaking at a normal pace. Some people might also find certain words difficult to pronounce. Missing teeth are frustrating enough, but having your speech affected by it can be especially disheartening.
Once your missing teeth are replaced, you’ll find that you can once again speak normally, though there’s often a short period of time when you’ll need to acclimate to your new smile. Properly fitting dentures shouldn’t interfere with your speech, but dental implants typically offer the most stability and confidence when speaking since there’s no way for the prosthetic to slip or shift.
6. Allows you to enjoy your food.
Food is an important factor in many people’s lives. Not only is it fuel for our bodies and brains, but it’s often tied to social events and new experiences. Missing teeth make it difficult to chew and enjoy meals, which takes a toll on your physical and mental health.
With your missing teeth replaced, you can begin eating a more varied diet and enjoy lunches or dinners with loved ones. Dental implants do have a longer healing period than partial or full dentures, but they also allow you to eat a wider range of foods. Your dentist will help you decide which restorative solution is best for your lifestyle.
It’s never too late to replace your missing teeth.
Even if you’ve been living with tooth loss for years, it’s never too late to fill the gaps in your smile. Partial and full dentures are affordable solutions with quick results, and dental implants can still be possible, though a bone graft may be necessary.
Dr. Staley can evaluate your smile and discuss which prosthodontic solution is ideal for restoring your smile during a one-on-one consultation. Schedule your visit today by calling our conveniently located Boise office or using this online request form.