Losing one or more teeth can leave you feeling embarrassed by your appearance, but the problems that come with tooth loss go far beyond cosmetic concerns. If you've had a missing tooth for a while, there's a strong likelihood that these problems could happen to you. However, the good news is that these problems can be avoided or improved if they've already happened. Here's what you should know about how dental implants can help you..
When you're an adult and lose one of your teeth, you might not think much would happen to the neighboring ones. However, even though your adult teeth are fully formed and grown in, they can actually shift and lose their alignment if a neighboring tooth is lost.
The main reason for this is because you'll still be applying stress to the missing tooth's neighbors when you bite and chew. This pressure can end up slowly pushing the neighboring teeth towards the gap, causing them to look crooked and uneven.
Lost Bone Mass
Another problem, especially if you have multiple missing teeth, is the potential for lost bone mass in your jaw. It might surprise you, but teeth actually have a role to play in keeping neighboring bones healthy.
When your teeth are healthy and normal, they're rooted directly in your jaw bone. When you bite down on a healthy tooth, some pressure is absorbed by the tooth itself, but a lot of it is transferred into the jaw. This pressure and strain trigger your body to build new bone cells in order to maintain the jaw's strength and durability. However, if one or more teeth or lost, the jaw can end up developing weak spots because this pressure is no longer reaching the bone.
Poor Gum Health
For some people, gum disease is ultimately behind their tooth loss. However, regardless of whether you had gum disease or not at the start, you could end up with gum health problems later on.
The pressure that travels through teeth also reaches the gums under normal circumstances. This pressure gently pushes on the gums, temporarily flushing out some of the blood. As soon as you release, fresh blood floods back in, providing important nutrients and oxygen to your gums. However, without this stimulation, your gum health can worsen and you become more likely to develop gum disease.
While there are many tooth replacement methods out there, the only one that can reverse or prevent these problems is dental implants. Dental implants mimic the functionality of real teeth by being mounted directly into the jaw bone. They let pressure travel like a real tooth does, and help to keep others from crowding into its space. If you're worried about your oral health, it's a good idea to talk to a dentist about getting implants to replace your missing teeth.
For more information on dental implants, talk to a dentist near you.