4 Long-term Consequences of Missing Teeth

What Are the Long-term Consequences of Missing Teeth?

If you have lost teeth, you might have noticed changes to your appearance. Of course, missing teeth leave gaps in your smile, but as time passes, tooth loss begins to affect the overall shape of your face as well.

The aesthetic effects of missing teeth are plain to see, but the hidden consequences of tooth loss can also affect your overall health and sense of well-being.

Let’s dive into some of the long-term effects of missing teeth:

Woman experiencing jaw pain

Bone Loss in the Jaw

Changes in your facial appearance are triggered by bone loss inside your mouth. Repeated, fleeting contact between your teeth stimulates the bone in your jaw to regenerate. Without that contact, however, the jawbone atrophies.

This degeneration not only creates cosmetic changes to the face but also makes dental implants more difficult to place. The longer you wait to replace missing teeth, the more the bone shrinks and weakens. If the bone is too thin and weak, the implant cannot be screwed into place. Bone grafts may be necessary to supplement the bone before dental implant surgery can take place.

Chronic Pain from Misaligned Teeth

Tooth loss also affects the remaining teeth. Remaining teeth can begin to move into the space left by the missing tooth, leading to bite collapse and leaving sensitive roots exposed to possible infection. Other healthy teeth are at a higher risk of chipping, breaking, or fracturing.

Misaligned teeth may cause pain that radiates throughout the face, head, neck, and even the back. Chronic pain may contribute to debilitating migraine headaches.

 Elderly couple biting into an applePoor Nutrition from Difficulty Chewing

Tooth loss can have profound effects on your overall health. Missing teeth can make it difficult or even painful to chew and swallow food. Foods that are rich in vitamins and fiber, like fruits and vegetables, may be particularly difficult to chew because of their crisp skins and flesh. Avoiding these healthy foods may result in nutritional deficiencies and digestive problems.

Emotional Effects of Tooth Loss

Thoughtful older gentleman

Not all of the effects of tooth loss are physical. Losing teeth may have psychological and emotional effects as well.

You may feel a sense of loss or not quite like yourself. When you see the changes to your appearance, you may hesitate before participating in social activities or one-on-one time with that special someone.

What to Do About Tooth Loss

The longer you wait to replace missing teeth, the more profound the effects. But don’t lose hope. Many of the problems caused by tooth loss are reversible.

Dental implants serve as a viable option for tooth loss. These permanent replacements for your natural teeth enable you to eat and speak as you did before, boosting your health and confidence.

Start your journey to a beautiful smile today by scheduling a consultation at Cumberland Surgical Arts.

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