Even a single missing tooth can cause a chain-reaction that impacts both the health and beauty of your smile. Preserving all your natural teeth with preventive dentistry is the best choice, but it doesn’t always work. If you are missing one or more teeth, Fairfax dentist Dr. Pamela Marzban encourages you to contact our office and schedule a consultation to learn all about your tooth replacement options. Taking this step can help prevent future oral health problems and restore strength and beauty to your smile.
A Very Visible Loss
A missing tooth is the most visible form of damage to your smile. Many people feel self-conscious about the presence of a gap in their smile. And this isn’t entirely unjustified. If people see a missing tooth in your smile, they assume you are less intelligent, less successful, and less healthy.
Replacing a missing tooth is vital to conveying an appearance of health, as well as protecting your overall health.
Changes to Bite Tension and Strength
Missing teeth can detract from the appearance of your smile. This alone is reason enough for some people to look at options such as dental implants or bridges. However, aesthetics is far from the only reason to consider tooth replacement.
When a tooth is missing, adjacent teeth will begin to slide into the empty space. This changes bite tension, which can impact how well you bite and chew food. It can also lead to uneven tooth wear, increasing risk for damage to surrounding natural teeth, leading to additional tooth loss. This cycle can repeat over and over as additional teeth are impacted by subsequent loss.
Nutrition, Disease, and Longevity
Not being able to chew properly impacts your ability to eat a healthy variety of food. This, in turn, can have a dramatic impact on your ability to resist disease. As you lose the ability to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, unprocessed meat, and nuts and seeds, you lose access to some of the most important healthy foods. You are more likely to eat processed foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt. This makes you more likely to develop dangerous conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and atherosclerosis.
In fact, gum disease and tooth loss have been linked to early death as well as cardiovascular disease.
Teeth, Mobility, and Independence
Your jaw is an important structure for stabilizing your core. It helps you maintain balance and exert strength. Studies show that tooth loss is associated with slower walking speed and lower grip strength among seniors. Seniors with no or ill-fitting dentures are more likely to experience serious falls. And seniors improve their walking speed when they get new, better-fitting dentures.
In addition, seniors with missing teeth and no dentures are more likely to become shut-ins than those who have all their teeth or wear dentures.
Bone loss is also unavoidable when a missing tooth is not replaced. The roots of your teeth are responsible for identifying where bone is needed. When a tooth is gone, so too is its root. When the root is gone, the body begins to reabsorb minerals around the missing tooth. This causes the jaw to shrink and collapse, further altering your bite and permanently changing your facial appearance.
One of the unique advantages of dental implants is their ability to replace a tooth’s missing root. This enables implants to prevent bone loss and preserve the structure of your face. Implants alone offer this benefit, though other forms of tooth replacement can certainly help slow the process of jaw collapse. Which tooth replacement option is best for your needs can be determined during your consultation with Dr. Marzban.
If you are missing one or more teeth, please contact our experienced Fairfax dentist today to schedule a comprehensive evaluation. Dr. Marzban serves Fairfax and nearby Virginia communities from our state-of-the-art office in Burke.