Your body is an intricate system, like a machine, and when one function changes it can affect the rest of the body in a myriad of ways. It shouldn’t be a surprise that your oral health can influence the rest of your body. When one tooth is lost it can affect your overall health as well.
Tooth loss can occur in one of three ways: by neglect, accident, or age.
Neglecting your teeth means refusing to brush or floss, not visiting the dentist for hygiene appointments, or not using the correct tools to clean your teeth. As a result of these bad habits, your teeth are more susceptible to oral health conditions like gum disease or tooth decay. Untreated, these diseases can easily lead to tooth loss.
Accidents, such as physical trauma to the face, have also resulted in tooth loss. We’ve had patients who lost a tooth when they fell off their bike, bit into a hard apple, or were playing football with their friends.
But the most common cause of tooth loss is old age. The bone and tissues can naturally weaken over time and lead to tooth loss. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but self-conscious patients can remedy this with dental implants.
Regardless of how you lost your teeth, we understand first-hand the devastating effects of tooth loss on a patient’s health and well-being. By investing in dental implants, patients can put a stop to the long-term effects of tooth loss and restore their smile.
As we said before, the human body is like a machine, so when one piece goes out of whack it can influence other areas of the body. What follows are common risks that tooth loss patients have experienced:
Let’s start at the first time you lose a tooth. Other than a noticeable gap in your teeth, you may not notice a huge difference in your eating or speaking abilities. But underneath the skin, your jawbone is already beginning to deteriorate in small stages. Within one year of losing a tooth, that area of your jawbone can decrease in volume by 25%.
If you start to lose more teeth, your jawbone will continue to reduce in volume and density. The gum tissues may also start to reduce or even recede from the surfaces of neighboring teeth. Without the support of both of these tissues, teeth will become noticeably more loose. The decrease in jawbone also leads to a loss of facial support, which becomes more evident on the surface of your skin. Your cheeks start to hollow and wrinkles appear around the lips.
When you reach the stage of losing all of your teeth, the jawbone deteriorates to a point where your chin becomes more prominent, forced upwards toward your nose. Bite collapse occurs as the back teeth are lost, making it difficult to chew food or speak clearly. Your cheeks hollow out more significantly.
In 2008, the Academy of General Dentistry surveyed 1,100 of their dental caregivers, asking them to identify the most common effects of tooth loss on their patients. After collecting their responses, the survey revealed that 86% of patients cited social embarrassment; 66% said emotional pain; and 68.7% claimed they were stricken with self-consciousness. As dental care providers, we have long understood the emotional side of tooth loss, and have also seen these emotional responses as reasons why patients didn’t pursue treatment. Some patients also were not well-informed about their tooth replacement options.
It’s why we recommend dental implants to all of our tooth loss patients. These implants can fill the gap in your smile and remain there for years, often beyond the lifespans of other dental devices. We’ve seen the emotional impact that dental implants have had on our patients, and we want the same experience for you.
Ever since their inception in the 1960s, dental implants are the tried-and-true choice for tooth replacement. They are nearly invisible in your smile, look and feel natural, and can even help your jawbone and tissues recover from tooth loss trauma. Thanks to the process of osseointegration (which you can read more about here), dental implants are also permanent and durable, able to withstand the natural pressures of textured foods. Compared to dentures or dental bridges, which are attached loosely to the teeth, dental implants are far superior in functionality and easy maintenance as well.
The first step on your journey to a complete smile is to contact Herman Family Dentistry to schedule a consultation. You’ll be evaluated for candidacy, discuss your options with Dr. Herman, and make a decision on how you want to proceed. Don’t hesitate to take that first step towards a healthier smile today.
Dr. Eric Herman
608 South Quail Run Road
Monday: 9AM – 5PM
Tuesday: 9AM – 5PM
Wednesday: 9AM – 5PM
Thursday: 9AM – 5PM
Friday: 9AM – 4PM