Two Issues You May Develop Because Of Missing Teeth

Missing teeth is more than a cosmetic issue, though people's self-esteem can take a hit when they lose teeth in obvious areas (e.g. the front of the mouth). When you lose a tooth through disease or trauma, serious oral health issues can develop if the problem is not addressed immediately. Here are two that can ultimately have an adverse affect on your oral health and quality of life.

Shifting Bite

While teeth are attached to the jaw bone at the root, they are not permanently fixed in place. As clearly demonstrated by orthodontic work (e.g. braces), teeth can and do move around. The reason they don't is because they provide each other with structural support to remain in place. Therefore, when teeth fall or are knocked out, it's only a matter of time before the ones left behind begin moving to fill in the empty space.

The longer the space sits empty, the more likely your bite will change and for a couple of reasons. When you eat food, your chewing muscles may place pressure on the remaining teeth and force them to migrate or tip over if they're sitting at an odd angle.

The second issue is teeth are crucial to maintaining bone density. Without the constant vibrations stimulating the jaw bone, the body eventually breaks down the tissue, leaving the jaw weakened in that spot. This increases the risk teeth will move around, which can lead to even more problems such as difficulty eating and the onset of TMJ disorder.

Speech Impediment

It may not seem like it because you likely don't think about you talk, but teeth are an integral part of speech. When you lose them, you may develop a speech impediment or have difficulty making the right sounds to form words.

For instance, it's not unusual for people to develop lisps when they're missing front teeth or incisors. It may also be difficult to make strident sounds (e.g. the "z" in zoo or the "sh" in fish). This can make it challenging to be understood and may be a source of endless embarrassment as a result.

Eventually, your mouth may adapt. However, when you do get the teeth replaced, you may need to undergo speech therapy for a period of time to restore your ability to correctly pronounce words.

For more information about other consequences associated with tooth loss or to discuss option for replacing missing teeth, contact a cosmetic dentist, like one from Dr. Jerry F. Maymi & Associates.