Since the early 1900s, we have come a long way, Baby! This sentiment applies to most areas of life. Our technology has changed, our tastes and even our level of health have improved significantly since our grandparents’ time. Back at the turn of the previous century, approximately 50% of adults in America had no teeth. Today, we are doing much better. Still, the America College of Prosthodontics tells us that almost 200 million Americans are missing a tooth. Toothlessness is also still in play, affecting more than 35 million.
There are some different causes behind tooth loss. Regardless of the extent, it is important to know that your life will be impacted. Sometimes, it may seem like the cost of replacing a tooth is not worth the investment. However, the cost of not receiving restorative care could be even greater. Here are just a few of the less obvious reasons that you do not want to skip out on treatment for a missing tooth.
You use all of the teeth in your mouth when you chew. Depending on the location of tooth loss, biting and chewing function may become quite difficult. “I’ll just chew on the opposite side” is a common idea, but not a good one. When you chew primarily on one side of your mouth, the teeth on that side wear down. Also, the joints and muscles on the overused side suffer from the extra stress, and this could lead to chronic pain in the jaw, face, or head and neck.
Teeth are also vital structures for clear speech. The tongue hits the teeth when we make certain sounds. If a front tooth is lost, a lisp may develop. If several teeth are missing throughout different parts of the mouth, the lack of structure could lead to what can only be described as “lazy speech” patterns.
Because bone loss occurs over time, it is a consequence of missing teeth that wasn’t commonly discussed until recently. What is important to understand about bone loss is that a good amount of deterioration occurs within the first 18 months after a tooth falls out or is extracted. The sooner your dentist can intervene, the better. Once bone resorption has occurred, it cannot be reversed without more extensive care, such as bone grafting.
Your teeth matter. Your smile and oral health matter. To learn how the team at Advanced Dental Arts can help you address tooth loss, call (847) 223-5200.