A missing tooth might feel like no big deal, especially if the tooth wasn’t that visible to begin with. Each tooth plays an important role in your dental health, however, and ignoring one that’s missing can lead to bothersome and potentially serious problems.
In case you’re missing one or more teeth and would like to learn about your options, Dr. Hannah Baek and our team at Healthy Smile Dental have put together the following guide. Here’s how missing teeth can affect your health, as well as advice on how to prevent complications.
A missing tooth can cause difficulty chewing and talking
Having a normal amount of teeth helps you with daily tasks that are easily taken for granted: eating and talking normally. Your teeth allow you to articulate well by coming into contact with your tongue and lips. A missing tooth can make it difficult to pronounce certain words or sounds, and can lead to slurred speech or a lisp.
Also, having all of your teeth helps to ensure that you can both bite and chew your food. When you have significant gaps between your teeth, food can more easily get caught and trapped between surrounding teeth.
Missing teeth can lead to poor alignment
Each tooth in your mouth helps support surrounding teeth. So when a tooth is missing, the teeth on either side of the gap can begin shifting inward. Over time, this effect can snowball, leading to alignment problems throughout your mouth. You might even end up needing braces or Invisalign to straighten your shifted teeth.
Even non-visible gaps can affect your appearance
A gap near the front of your mouth may make you feel self-conscious about your smile, which can detract from your overall confidence. A missing tooth can impact your appearance even if it was a molar toward the back of your mouth, however. If you lose more than one tooth due to injury, decay, or other factors, the skin around your mouth will lose support. Over time, this skin will start to sag, making you look older than you are.
Solutions for a missing tooth
Thankfully, numerous treatments can help replace your missing tooth and prevent related risks and complications. A bridge, for example, is a fixed prosthetic device that improves the function of your teeth and your appearance. Dentures are removable dental plates that take the place of one or more missing teeth. If at least part of the tooth remains, you might be a good candidate for veneers, which function as a new exterior.
Learn much more about missing teeth by calling our office or booking an appointment with Dr. Baek through our website.