Overview of Missing Teeth: Causes, Impact, and Treatment
Edentulism or partially missing teeth can affect much more than the ability to chew or properly digest the food. It has significant social, psychological, and emotional consequences that severely impact your quality of life and self-esteem.
Our teeth are naturally developed to last for a lifetime, however high sugar food and drinks, busy lifestyle, environmental hazards and oral hygiene negligence have led to partial edentulism amongst the masses. According to recent studies of prosthodontists, more than 35 million Americans have missing teeth in one or both jaws. This number reflects how edentulism is emerging as a serious concern for dental health care.
Here’s an overview of causes, impact and treatment options available for edentulism or missing teeth:
What Conditions Lead to Missing Teeth (Causes) :
Poor Oral Hygiene
If you’re not taking proper care of your oral hygiene and have developed a habit of missing out on brushing and flossing your teeth daily, cavities and gum diseases may occur and can lead to tooth loss in near future.
Improper intake of food that contains high dosage of sugar, carbohydrates and acids are really dangerous for your oral health as it initiates tooth decay which leads to tooth loss. Apart from this, smoking, chewing tobacco and tooth grinding are poor habits which later result in tooth loss.
Sports like football, hockey, martial arts and such other sports that require a physical contact increase the risk of edentulism. So it’s advised to wear proper gear before participating in any such sports events.
Many medical reasons such as genetic disorder, periodontal disease, hypodontia and other such complications are major reasons for tooth loss among all age groups.
Other Medical Treatment
If someone is going through chemotherapy, head radiation therapy or immunosuppressive medications, it weakens their immune system which increases the risk of tooth infection. This may result in the need for tooth extraction.
Lack of Knowledge
Many people are unaware of the reasons that result in tooth loss and also not aware of its consequences. Due to lack of knowledge, they don’t take proper preventive measures and it increases the risk of tooth loss for such people.
Studies have shown that there are many people who suffer from dental phobia or anxiety of going to the dentist. Due to the dental fear, they don’t seek dental treatment even if they are in pain. It’s advised for such people to take help of their family members and consult a dentist in any such case because these untreated dental problems can prolong and aggravate the condition.
Some people postpone or forgo their dental treatment and regular checkups due to high dental charges or lack of insurance coverage. But they don’t know that neglecting dental care increases the risk of serious problems and greater expense for repair.
Impact of Missing Teeth:
It doesn’t matter what’s the reason of your missing teeth, the consequences do not vary according to the cause. Here are some of those major impacts which one has to face with their missing teeth.
- Your jaws are not aligned properly while biting which leads to chewing problems.
- If a missing tooth is left untreated, its impact can be seen on other teeth as the increased gap between them.
- The teeth neighboring those missing teeth tend to tilt in that direction if that empty space is left untreated.
- It increases self-consciousness and dissatisfaction with your appearance that results in loss of confidence.
- Plaque and food start to accumulate in tooth gaps which results in more cavities, decay and periodontal infections.
- Facial muscle pain, distress, relaxation and speech problems- these are some common consequences of missing tooth.
Available Treatment Options:
With different technological advancement in dental healthcare sector, there are various teeth replacement procedures available in dentistry these days. Some of those popular options used for missing teeth are mentioned here:
These are basically of two types- partial and complete dentures. These are movable and might move a bit which is why it’s the least popular treatment option these days. But for patients who have financial concerns, it’s the most suitable option.
This treatment involves fixing of a dental bridge to restore teeth gap with anchoring neighboring teeth. These bridges can’t be removed without dentist’s help as these are fixed firmly with cement. Bridges are available in different materials such as metal ceramics, white metal and metal free ceramics.
It’s the latest technique of tooth replacement that gives you natural look with your bite, smile and appearance maintained. Dental implants procedure involves fixing of an artificial tooth on the base of metal implant that’s acting as artificial root.
Visit your dentist to check what would be the right treatment option for your missing teeth.
Dr. Orest Frangopol is the Owner of OC Dental Implants, a leading dental office in the Orange County area. Dr. Frangopol is an expert in providing comprehensive implant services that include: single tooth dental implant, bone grafting, dental implants and full mouth reconstruction. He along with his team has a reputation of offering affordable dental implants combined with customized treatment for all his patients.