3 Reasons to Worry About a Missing Tooth (or Teeth)!
According to the American College of Prosthodontics, 120 million people
in the United States are missing at least one tooth and more than 36 million
people don’t have any teeth at all. These numbers are expected to
grow over the next two decades. Tooth loss can happen due to a number
of reasons – gum disease, injury, cancer and wear. However, regardless
of the reason you may have a missing tooth, the impact on your life is
In addition to appearance, there are other issues and dangers that can
occur if you don’t replace missing teeth. Learning about the long-term
costs and risks of not replacing a missing tooth can help you understand
why tooth replacement options are so important.
One of the most significant dangers related to not replacing a missing
tooth is bone loss – also known as bone resorption. Bone loss occurs
after a tooth is gone because the natural roots of the tooth are no longer
embedded in the jawbone, leaving a void. Over time, the jawbone will begin
Unfortunately, bone resorption doesn’t only impact the tooth that
is missing, it actually puts you at risk of losing neighboring teeth and
will eventually impact your facial appearance. As time passes without
replacing missing teeth, you may notice that your face shape will change
gradually and your lips may appear asymmetrical and sunken.
Additionally, a missing tooth – or teeth – can also increase
the chance you will develop gum disease in the area where the tooth existed
or even suffer from tooth decay on a neighboring tooth.
Speaking and Eating
Another serious risk of not replacing a missing tooth is the reduced ability
to eat certain types of foods. Depending on which tooth or teeth are missing,
it may become difficult to bite into and chew certain foods. In an attempt
to avoid biting and chewing near the missing tooth, you’ll most
likely begin overusing other teeth to compensate for the missing tooth or teeth.
Overall, this can eventually lead to diminished health and poor nutrition.
For example, a common side effect of missing teeth can be digestive issues
as you begin to eat softer foods or don’t fully chew foods before
If certain teeth are missing, such as the ones in the front, it can also
impact the way you speak and your ability to clearly pronounce certain
words. You may develop a lisp or a change in how you pronounce certain
words and sounds.
If a space from the missing tooth can be seen when you smile, eat, or
speak, you may start to avoid smiling, eating, and speaking to people
in public. This can have a significant impact on your social life, your
job, and as a result, the amount of money you are able to earn at your
job. If gum disease develops due to the missing tooth, you may begin to
experience bad breath, as well.
Depending on your age, career path, and relationship status, the lifetime
costs of a missing tooth can really add up if you’re not confident
to smile, eat, or speak in front of other people.
There is no question that dealing with a missing tooth can be a stressful
situation. However, if you speak with your dentist, you will quickly discover
there are many replacement options available to help fit your lifestyle
and budget. Also, getting to know the risks of not replacing a missing
tooth can help you see why you shouldn’t wait to have a new tooth
placed. There is no reason to allow your oral health to suffer when you
can easily restore your oral health, and your beautiful smile.