Missing teeth is a common occurrence in adults and it can happen for any number of reasons, although the most common ones are congenital, tooth loss due to tooth decay and trauma.
Now, even though missing teeth are common, that doesn’t mean that it should be ignored. In fact, when it comes to your health (even dental health) there’s no “safety in numbers” policy.
Adults with missing tooth or missing teeth should take remedial action and there are a couple of available treatment options.
How common are missing teeth?
It might surprise you but congenitally missing teeth (or hypodontia) actually affects 5% of the adult population on average. On top of that, we also have to add those adults who’s missing teeth are a result of trauma (due to an accident) or tooth decay and tooth loss. So there are actually a lot of adults that are missing one or several of their teeth.
This is a big concern that dentist around the world treat quite often.
Why should you replace missing teeth?
Missing teeth can be a real hit for your self-confidence and self-esteem. In fact, many people that are missing one or more teeth, tend to cover their mouths more, talk and smile less and appear less social.
Role of teeth
You might think that the sole purpose of your teeth is to chew your food, but that’s not the whole truth. In fact, aside from chewing, teeth also perform one other important function and that is helping us speak clearly. Some teeth are only for chewing, some for speaking and some for both.
But, once you have missing teeth, you will dedicate certain tasks to other remaining teeth. They might become “overworked” and be subject to additional wear and tear. Furthermore, they could even start shifting.
Change in bone structure after missing teeth
When you have missing teeth, the gum and bone that used to hold your tooth in place, are no longer stimulated to do so. Hence they can start the shrink and affect the other remaining teeth. They could become loose and you could end up losing even more teeth.
Also, with bone loss in your lower or upper jaw, your facial appearance could also change, making you look slightly older than you really are.
Because every tooth has a certain unction, once you’re missing one (or more) you won’t be able to eat all the things you used to before. This will require you to change your diet, which can be difficult and hard. But if you chose to replace the missing tooth, you might not be forced to give up your favorite food.
Depending on which missing tooth replacement alternative you pick, the solution could be relatively long-term and truly long term. This also reflects on the cost of each procedure.
For example, partial dentures might look a good and cost-effective solution, but they aren’t as durable and don’t last that long.
On the other hand, dental implants have reported a 98% success rate and have lasted a lifetime for some patients. This is because they replicate the function for a natural tooth and become one with the jawbone.
Yes, treatment of missing teeth is an investment, but it’s a much better option than ongoing dental care in order to treat the variety of problems that arise from missing teeth. In the long run, replacing missing teeth is a good investment.