Missing teeth: more than just what meets the eye
Updated: Mar 22, 2021
Sporting a beautiful smile is what everyone desires. Hurdles to achieving an ideal smile include malocclusion, teeth staining, cavities, gum disease, and missing teeth.
I would argue that perhaps the biggest issue that could not only ruin the appearance of the smile, but also the functionality of the mouth, is the loss of teeth.
Loss of teeth is known to cause several issues with regard to the oral health and esthetics of the patient. Imagine not being able to pose for pictures with a broad smile like you used to, or not being able to bite into your favorite foods due to hindered oral functionality. Sounds bad, right?
How disadvantageous can a missing tooth be?
Many people have come to reluctantly accept their missing teeth. While changes may not occur immediately, missing teeth will take a toll on the facial aesthetics as well as the functionality of the mouth. More specific negative outcomes of missing teeth include:
Hindered biting and chewing ability: Getting used to biting and chewing food with a missing tooth can take some time. Unequal pressure applied on the remaining teeth can potentially cause expedited wear, leading to a premature breakdown of teeth and fillings. This makes biting and chewing uncomfortable, painful and would indirectly affect your appetite. It could also cause other healthy teeth to fail faster.
Drifting of teeth: Since the tooth is removed in its entirety, a gap will be left in the jawbone. This allows the remaining teeth to drift or move from their places, bringing about a change in the alignment of the teeth and a change in the facial shape.
Altered phonetics: If you’ve heard a person with missing teeth talk, you may recognize a change in their phonetics.
Bone deterioration: Jaw bones primarily exist to hold teeth in place. When teeth are lost, the jaw bones naturally deteriorate since your body thinks you don’t need it anymore. This leads to less bone, which means that your facial appearance can actually change and make you appear older than you are. This bone deterioration can also prevent you from getting certain treatments meant for replacing missing teeth,
Loss of confidence: Undoubtedly, the biggest drawback of missing teeth is the loss of confidence. Patients with missing teeth feel less confident while talking to people, posing for pictures, or going about their daily routine.
What is the solution?
Thankfully, advancements in dentistry have lead us to various restorative methods that help successfully replace lost teeth. Some of them are:
Implants : Dental implants are a combination of a titanium stud and a ceramic crown that replace a tooth in its entirety. They are the best tooth replacement prosthetics as they offer excellent durability, strength, functionality, aesthetics, and longevity and are the closest thing to a “real” tooth currently available in dentistry.
Bridges: Bridges are held in position with the help of two crowns on either side, as opposed to an implant which is fitted to the jawbone. It would look exactly like a real tooth and help the patient bite and chew food like normal.
Dentures: When the patient has lost many teeth, an economical way to replace them is by using dentures. They are available in both partial and complete forms, allowing the dentist to replace just some or all of the teeth based on the requirement. They are removable and can be taken off whenever required, such as while sleeping or cleaning the mouth.
Orthodontics: In many instances, orthodontics such as Invisalign can close the gaps caused by missing teeth. It will also address the malocclusion caused by lost teeth.
Schedule an appointment to find out if any of these options are appropriate for you.