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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 often significant.

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.

Bone Loss
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 to deteriorate.

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 swallowing.

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.

Reduced Self-Esteem
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.

Options
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.

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