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Why You Shouldn't Ignore a Missing Tooth

A full set of adult teeth totals 32, yet the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) reports that the average count for American adults between the ages of 20 and 64 is 25.5 teeth per person

True, dentists can remove some teeth deliberately, such as wisdom teeth or others that cause crowding. In these cases, the missing teeth benefit your oral health. You shouldn’t, however, ignore a missing tooth lost to damage, decay, or injury. 

One or more missing teeth can set off a chain reaction of health events that might surprise you. Ignoring these missing teeth and the spaces they leave behind can carry long-range consequences. 

At Lee Dental in Frisco, Texas, we are passionate about your oral health. That’s why we encourage you not to ignore a missing tooth. Here are some reasons why: 

Eating becomes less efficient

While it’s obvious when you think about it, not many people realize that the process of biting and chewing food is the first step of the digestion process. Upper and lower teeth align in such a way as to tear and masticate (chew) food to prepare it for your stomach. A missing tooth means that its partner on the other arch of teeth has no surface against which to work. 

Moving teeth

When you’re missing a tooth, your remaining natural teeth can shift out of alignment. Though teeth may seem solid and immobile, they can move slowly through the bone of the jaw and relocate themselves. Orthodontists use braces to take advantage of this feature of teeth to deliberately correct dental misalignments. 

Dental hygiene challenges

Between inefficient chewing and moving teeth, food can lodge more easily in places where a tooth used to be or where shifting teeth make hideaways. Brushing and flossing might not work as well as they have in the past. 

Bone loss

The tissue of your jawbone interacts with the roots of teeth. As you chew, small movements of your teeth stimulate the bone that surrounds them, an interactive process that keeps bone tissue healthy. 

Lose a tooth and you lose that interaction. You may suffer localized bone loss as a result. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement system that restores both the root and the crown of a missing tooth. 

Facial appearance

A single lost tooth might not create much of a change, but when you’re missing multiple teeth, your facial structure could collapse or sag into the gap, making you look older than your age. 

Speaking

Your teeth play a secondary but important role in your ability to speak. Change the number of teeth in your mouth and you may now have problems forming certain sounds and words. 

Mental health

Losing teeth can also shake your confidence. You might withdraw socially if you feel your missing tooth will cause others to judge you. As your self-esteem takes a hit, you could develop anxiety and depression. 

Thankfully, there’s an answer to your tooth loss situation. Our team offers several options to restore your mouth to top working condition. Our dentists may recommend a bridge, dentures, or implants to resolve the problem. At your consultation, your provider will customize a treatment based on your unique needs. 

Call or click to arrange a consultation with the team at Lee Dental today.

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