- A change in the way you usually smile.
- The loss of your tooth could affect the way you speak, eat, and intimate with people.
- Having some or all your teeth missing could also gradually affect your self-confidence.
There are also some health-wise consequences of living without some or all of your teeth.
For a bone to maintain its form and density, it needs to be continuously stimulated, and the jawbone gets this stimulation from the teeth. They are always in constant movement causing vibrations, which make the bones to regenerate itself, thereby, maintaining its form and density constantly.
When you lose your tooth, the area of the jawbone affected no longer receives the stimulation, thereby, causing a gradual degeneration of the jawbone. There is a 25% decrease in the bone width in just the first year of losing your teeth.
In the four years following the tooth loss, there would also be about 4 millimeters reduction in the height of the jawbone. Should this degenerative process be allowed to continue, then, with time, the consequences would set-in. The distance from your nose to the chin would decrease, and the lower third of your face would collapse partially.
Also, your lips would sag, and you would be more likely to have a jaw fracture in extreme cases of jawbone loss. Saggy lips are the reason why people living without teeth appears to look unhappy.
Sometimes, your remaining teeth may start to shift into the space left by the lost tooth, and this could result in jaw joint pain, and bite problems. It could, in turn, result in poor nutrition and health as it would become difficult to eat healthy nutritious food without good teeth.
With recent advancement in technology, jawbone loss due to missing teeth can now be prevented by a dentist through the use of dental implants.
How Dental Implants Prevent Bone Loss
Dental implants are made from titanium, a unique metal which can fuse with living material; in this case, the jawbones become one. These implants help prevent bone loss as they pass vibrations to the jawbone, causing them to regenerate, thereby maintaining its form, volume, and density.
Dental implants help restore a smile to the faces of people without teeth as they help in replacing their lost teeth. A minor, regular surgery involving only local anesthesia is done to install these implants.
After the implants have healed properly, a custom-made crown which looks and feel just like a natural tooth is attached to the implants. This tooth replacement option is the most successful of all the tooth replacement options available, with a success rate of over 95%.
Other Options for Tooth Replacement
Fixed bridgework and removable dentures are two other tooth replacement options. One of the demerits of these options is that they rest on anatomical structures and could damage them. For instance, fixed bridgework needs to be supported by two adjoining, possibly good teeth that have to be filed down and capped. This could result in root canal problems and even decay of those healthy teeth.
In the case of the removable partial denture; they could cause the already existing healthy tooth to become loose over time. It is because they would be hooked on them and also full dentures would hasten the bone loss process as it would press on the bony ridges where the lost teeth used to be.
These two teeth replacement options are cheaper than dental implants but would eventually cost more money in the long run as they could cause more problems and replacement. Dental implants, though expensive initially, would be cost-effective over time as they can last a lifetime and won’t cause any further issues.