Dental Information · Oral Health

The Common Problems That Missing Teeth Cause

Having one or more missing teeth might cause feelings of low self-esteem and make you feel self-conscious and embarrassed. In addition to the emotional trauma of a missing tooth, there are a number of other concerns and dangers associated with a missing tooth or teeth, which often results in significant health concerns.

1. TMJ Problems

People that have missing teeth, especially the molars, will often experience a shift in their original bite. This usually occurs on the opposite side of the missing tooth as the remaining teeth compensate for inabilities to chew properly on the side where the tooth is missing.

This usually results in jaw stiffness and pain that increases as time goes by and can develop into TMJ disorder. TMJ is a condition that causes the jaw to click or pop, pain, muscular headaches and can even start to limit how wide you can open your jaw.

2. Breeding Ground For Bacteria

You have probably already noticed on commercials for toothpaste and mouthwash, that most of the bacteria present inside your mouth is hidden in the areas that are harder to reach.

When you lose a tooth, the dark cavern which is left behind is the ideal space for bacteria to breed. This often results in gum disease, cavities, and decay.

You will probably also experience the issue of food becoming trapped or stuck in the spaces that are left behind from the missing tooth, which leads to issues such as bad breathe along with more bacteria growth.

3. Limited Diet

When you have a tooth that is missing, you may start finding it more difficult to eat certain types of food on that side of your mouth. This might start placing a limit on the type of food that you eat, especially when it comes to harder foods such as meat, nuts, and hard vegetables or fruit.

When you stop chewing in the area where the tooth is missing, this results in an increase in wear-and-tear when it comes to the other teeth in your mouth.

4. Shifting Teeth

Over time, the teeth that are next to the site where you lost a tooth will start to move into the spaces left behind. This might result in more gaps between the remaining teeth, and the shifting teeth might start twisting or tilting as they start shifting.

When this starts to happen, your eating abilities become further compromised, while the likelihood of developing TMJ also starts to increase.

5. Facial Changes

While some people attribute changes to the face with losing weight or getting older, when you start losing teeth these processes start to accelerate.

As bone loss in your mouth starts to increase, the width and height of the jaw bone start to decrease which can result in a number facial changes that include bite changes, your face height starts to decrease, and your chin might start moving forward.

6. Bone Loss

Bone strength is largely dependent on regular stimulation. The jaw bone holds the responsibility of supporting your teeth and stress and small vibrations caused by teeth contact makes sure the bone remains resilient and strong. It can be compared to muscles that get stronger when a person regularly works out.

When a tooth is lost, that areas in the jaw bone no longer receives these stressors and small vibrations, and the bone density starts to decrease which includes the height, width, and the overall bone volume.

In one year, many people experience up 25% of width loss in their jaw bone.
In 2 to 3 years after losing a tooth, the bone in this area can decrease by as much as 4 millimeters.

Bone loss is also associated with causing aesthetic problems, along with issues with pain, talking, and eating. If you carry on losing teeth, these problems become even more exasperated, with bone density loss that can result in fractures.

7. Low Self Esteem

A missing a tooth or teeth will make you feel uncomfortable when it comes to speaking or smiling when around other people. You might even start to speak differently, or even start avoiding social settings.

Treatment Options

Fortunately, today there are various options to treat missing teeth which can restore the normal functions of your mouth. Below are some of the common treatment options for missing teeth:

• Dental Implants

Dental implants are known as one of the most effective options. In most cases, an implant looks just like a natural tooth when it comes to both the function and appearance of the tooth.

• Bridges

Unlike the implants, a bridge is positioned using adjacent teeth as the anchor points. This is a less expensive option when compared to the implants, yet the bridges are not as long-lasting.

• Dentures

When you have lost most of the teeth in your mouth, dentures are the most cost-effective option. These come in partial or complete dentures, where they replace both the gum tissue and the teeth.

Hopefully, this gives you some important information in regards to the negative impact of leaving missing teeth untreated in your mouth. Our advice is not to delay in replacing missing teeth as the negative effects greatly outway the cost of replacing them.