What is the Problem with Missing Teeth

144 Missing Teeth – What is the Problem with Missing Teeth? (2 of 5)
On average, patients over 50 have lost 12 permanent teeth, and two-thirds of patients between the ages of 35 and 44 are missing at least one tooth. While tooth loss is quite common, it can result in serious dental issues. In addition, it can make patients feel self-conscious and insecure about their smile. Missing teeth which are not replaced in a timely manner can actually result in the loss of additional teeth, tooth movement, bone loss, and other issues. Below are some of the most common risks and side effects associated with missing teeth.

Bone Loss
In order to maintain and support healthy teeth, a patient must have healthy bones. One critical component of good oral health is a healthy jawbone. The act of chewing places an incredible amount of force on the jawbone. The jawbone actually depends on chewing for stimulation and to maintain its structure. This is similar to how exercise helps maintain muscle mass. When missing teeth are not replaced, it can cause bone loss in the jaw due to the lack of stimulation. Over time, the jawbone can slowly deteriorate. In some cases, this loss of bone can impact the patient’s facial appearance. Missing teeth which are not replaced can also allow for the adjacent teeth to move, shift, and become weak.

Additional Tooth Loss
Missing teeth actually increases the risk for patients to lose more teeth. Patient with one or more missing teeth are 30% more likely to experience additional tooth loss.

The failure to replace missing teeth also allows for the remaining teeth to slowly shift into the new space. Teeth which are crooked can negatively impact the patient’s smile and make it more difficult to practice good oral hygiene. Overcrowded teeth are incredibly difficult to clean with regular brushing and flossing at home. This can lead to the accumulation of bacteria and gum disease.

Bite Issues
Untreated missing teeth can also allow for the natural teeth to become overcrowded and shift. This shifting of the teeth can negatively impact how patient’s teeth fit together and their bite. Patients with bite issues can be at a higher risk for teeth grinding and TMJ disorder. Issues with the bite can cause damage to the tooth’s enamel, cause pain or headaches, increased sensitivity, and other serious problems.

Health Problems
Another concern for patients with missing teeth is gum disease. Gum disease can cause serious, long-term dental health issues. Heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and diabetes can all make a patient at risk for gum disease. Missing teeth act as a gateway for bacteria. Problems associated with gum disease can include increased sensitivity, bone loss, loose teeth, and even tooth loss in severe cases.

There are serious dental issues which can be cause by missing teeth. Missing teeth can negatively impact the patient’s dental and overall health, resulting in long-term issues. Patients who are missing teeth should follow up with a dentist right away to discuss treatment options such as dental implants, bridges, and implant-supported dentures. These solutions can help restore the appearance and function of the teeth.