AUGUSTA, GEORGIA—Do you want to look younger and improve your oral health in one fell swoop? Then talk to our team about the ways to replace your missing teeth.
“Missing teeth can cause serious dental health issues and be the source of discomfort, embarrassment and loss of confidence, so it is very important to replace missing teeth promptly,” says Dr. J. Perry Davis, an Augusta, GA dentist.
There are several ways that missing teeth can have a long-term impact on the person. For one, missing teeth makes the person look older. Patients often report feeling self-conscious of their smile when they have missing teeth and either don’t smile at all or feel like they need to cover up their mouth when they do.
Besides the negative impact on self-esteem, when teeth are lost, the bone and gum tissue that supported the teeth begin to recede in a process called reabsorption. The longer a tooth is missing, the greater the bone loss. Eventually the person develops facial collapse. This can mean a shortened lower face, deep over bite, collapsed bite, weak-looking chin, flattened lips and creasing in the corners of the mouth.
Missing teeth can also affect the function of your bite. When there is a missing tooth, surrounding teeth tend to tilt in toward the gap or shift out of place, creating an off-bite relationship.
“Each tooth has an important role in your mouth. Teeth allow you to speak and chew, and they help maintain the proper alignment of other teeth,” says Dr. Khalil “Dr. Sage” Saghezchi, a San Jose dentist who restores hundreds of smiles annually by replacing missing teeth.
Gaps in the dental arch due to missing teeth affect the way the jaw closes. If an opposing tooth tilts or drifts into an open space left by a missing tooth or teeth, it can cause the opposing jaw line to have bite-relationship problems. This often leads to acute and chronic pain and problems with the jaw joint, commonly referred to as temporomandibular joint disorders or TMJD. This condition can cause mild to extreme symptoms, including headaches, sore jaw, dizziness, blurred vision, eye pain, ringing ears, and pain or limited mobility in the neck, shoulder and back.
Missing teeth can also leave you more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease since food can get trapped in the gaps and openings, Dr. Sage says.
“The sooner you replace missing teeth the better, because you don’t want to deal with the negative repercussions on your emotional, oral and medical health,” says Dr. Davis.
Dr. Davis and his dental care team can replace one or more missing teeth with dental bridges, fixed partials or dental implants. Each one has its benefits, but a consultation with him can help you determine what the best option is for your needs.