If you have one or more missing teeth, you’re not alone. Tooth loss is much more common than most people think. Although tooth loss in seniors is more prevalent, it affects patients of all ages. But while tooth loss is common, it should never be ignored. Left untreated, missing teeth can take a toll on your oral health and lead to a variety of other serious dental problems.
Tooth loss doesn’t just affect your teeth, gums, and jaw. It can also introduce harmful bacteria into the bloodstream, impacting your overall health too. Thankfully, modern dentistry offers advanced solutions for patients with missing teeth. At Greater Long Island Dental, we offer effective treatments for missing teeth to restore your smile and protect your health!
What causes missing teeth?
There are many reasons why a patient may experience tooth loss. It’s a good idea to discuss your dental and family history with your dental care provider so they can determine the best course of treatment.
Some common causes of missing teeth include:
- A genetic condition
- Poor dental hygiene
- Periodontitis (gum disease)
- A traumatic injury
- Tooth decay
Oral health consequences of missing teeth
Crooked teeth and bite misalignment
Any remaining natural teeth that are next to the gap left by a missing tooth are likely to shift in order to fill the empty space. This can alter your bite alignment, impacting how your teeth function, feel, and look.
Gum recession and gum disease
Missing teeth can lead to gum recession and periodontal disease. Bacteria can cause inflammation and infection in and around the gums. Over time, gum disease can lead to loose teeth, worsening gum recession, bite misalignment, and other oral and general health conditions.
Bone loss in the jaw
Just like our muscles stay strong through exercise, our bone tissue is stimulated and maintained by frequent use. By using our natural teeth for everyday activities like chewing and speaking, we stimulate the jawbone and keep it healthy. Tooth loss can remove some of this stimulation and lead to jawbone deterioration and bone loss over time.
Difficulty eating and speaking
Tooth loss and the associated oral health issues discussed above can impact your ability to eat, speak, smile, and laugh normally and with confidence. Many people with missing teeth find themselves frequently avoiding eating certain foods and smiling.
General health consequences of missing teeth
Increased risk of systemic diseases
Most people think of their oral health as being separate from their total body health. In reality, they’re closely linked. Oral health problems such as gum disease are strongly correlated with many systemic health conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.
Our teeth play a key role in protecting the soft tissues in our mouth from accumulating harmful bacteria. These bacteria can travel to other areas of the body, weakening our immune systems and putting us at risk of general health problems.
Missing teeth can have a significant impact on nutrition. That’s because our teeth are necessary to perform daily functions like chewing. For this reason, many patients with tooth loss become limited in the types of food they can consume.
Chewing also helps our digestive systems properly absorb nutrients. When we’re not able to chew our food adequately, we often aren’t receiving the full nutritional value of our food.
The impact of missing teeth is far more than physical. Many patients suffer from poor self-esteem due to the gaps in their smile. This can lead to significant psychological distress over time.
Tooth replacement treatment options
Missing teeth are a common and very treatable dental concern. Advancements in dental technology and methodologies now enable patients to choose from a variety of highly effective treatments for missing teeth. They include:
- Removable dentures
- Implant-supported dentures (partial or full)
- Dental bridges
- Dental implants (single-tooth or All-on-4)
In many cases, these treatments can be used in conjunction with non-surgical gum rejuvenation to correct any gum disease or gum recession that has taken place.
Restore your smile with patient-focused care and advanced solutions for missing teeth!
At Greater Long Island Dental in Massapequa, NY, we know there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to treating tooth loss. Our wonderful dentists will conduct a thorough exam to evaluate your unique smile, discuss all your options with you, and help you make an informed decision about your care. Our office is a warm and welcoming environment, and our entire team is here to ensure you feel truly understood and comfortable every time you visit us.