We are gifted with two sets of teeth. The first are our baby teeth, and the others are our adult teeth. Our baby teeth fall out at around 6 to 9 years of age, while adult teeth last a lifetime. However, when adult teeth are lost, there is no natural replacement for them.
Role of teeth
The main function of teeth is to help in chewing and grinding food. During this process, saliva mixes with the food and the process of digestion begins. Teeth make your smile look pearly white and add aesthetic value to your face. Apart from the main functions, teeth helps in maintaining the facial form, muscular balance of the face, keep your jaw bones healthy and keep dysfunctions of the temporomandibular joint (joint between the upper and lower jaw) at bay. They also help in proper pronunciation of words as you speak.
Causes of Tooth loss
Aging is the primary reason for losing teeth. Most people lose their teeth when they are in their seventies or eighties. This is mainly due to receding bone around the teeth.
Consequences of tooth loss we need to know about
The age at which the adult set of teeth lost is around 60 years old and older. This is solely due to aging. However, it can be lost earlier due to tooth decay, gum disease or various other problems.
- Displacement/ movement of other teeth
When a tooth falls or is removed, an empty space is created. This space allows the neighbouring teeth to move and occupy the existing space. If a lower tooth is lost, the opposing upper tooth migrates downwards. This migration is not healthy and can damage the surrounding gums and bone.
- Changes in your bite
The way we bite depends on the position of our teeth. Teeth are important for chewing and if they are lost, the way you bite changes. This may further lead to joint dysfunctions.
- Joint dysfunctions
When teeth on one side are lost, a person tends to chew food only on the other side. Chewing and biting on one side can cause severe pain in the temporo-mandibular joint area or near your ears.
- Tooth fractures
If teeth that are critical for chewing food (i.e. molars) and are lost, the biting forces are directed to front teeth. Chewing food is not the main function of front teeth. When they are subjected to a lot of forces, like in the case of multiple missing teeth, it can lead to micro- fractures in the teeth.
- Cosmetic problems
The shrinkage and deterioration of the jaw bones affects the appearance of how the face looks over the bone. Facial sagging makes you look older, which is due to shrinkage in the upper and lower jaw bones. Further, it may cause profound emotional effects like being under-confident or being self conscious.
- Loss of bone
If a missing tooth is kept un-replaced by prosthetic tooth, or a fixed or removable denture, the bone inside the gums will start degenerating in that area. The bone will lose its height or become flat. Once the height of bone is lost, it is difficult to fabricate a denture or place an implant. Thus, it is best to replace the lost teeth as early as possible.
- Headache from missing teeth
Without the support of molars, teeth can randomly drift. Due to this, unusual dental bites can develop and cause excessive stress and damage to the joints (Temporo-Mandibular Joint) that connect the two jaw bones, which causes pain and headaches to be common side effects.
- Speech problems
Obvious changes occur in your speech and phonetics. Adequate jaw bone height , bone contour of your palate and teeth are required for pronunciation of words starting with ‘s’, ‘t’, ‘d’ and ‘r’.
If you have any missing teeth and are having second thoughts about getting implants, do not worry! Our team at Harbour Pointe Oral Surgery & Advanced Dental Implant Center will support you and provide the best care with every step of the process.
You can request an appointment at Harbour Pointe Oral Surgery & Advanced Dental Implant Center today! Our dental team will be happy to guide you through the entire process of getting a dental implant. For more information or to book an appointment you can visit https://www.harbourpointeoralsurgery.net or call (425) 353-1009.