No one wants to deal with a missing tooth or teeth. We get it! It’s embarrassing, or it feels like a hassle, or maybe the offending tooth was a back molar that you don’t even notice.
Why bother replacing it?
Well, we at Germantown Dental Group asked Dr. Whittemore and Dr. Gruen to sit down with us to discuss the ins and outs of tooth loss and why you should always replace your missing teeth.
There may be a lot more at stake than you realize!
What if I don’t replace my missing teeth?
There are plenty of good reasons why a skilled dental practitioner like Dr. Whittemore or Dr. Gruen should replace any missing teeth.
Indeed, there are cosmetic concerns, but that’s not the only or even the primary consideration when it comes to missing teeth! Let’s examine some potential hazards of “taking it easy” with your dental health.
It could affect your remaining teeth.
Your teeth are designed to use their neighbors as counterpoints to maintain alignment. Without your full complement of teeth, it’s difficult for the rest to keep their overall structural integrity. Your teeth will naturally migrate to try and rebalance the distribution of the gum line, which could lead to various complications with gum disease, tooth decay, or malocclusion (improper bite).
Unwanted cosmetic consequences
Apart from the obvious concerns of having an incomplete smile, you may think you can ignore something like a back molar.
Even a missing back molar can lead to jawbone deterioration and atrophy of the facial muscles due to the loss of stimulation from the missing tooth. This can have a significant impact on your overall profile!
Possible deterioration of your voice.
Missing teeth can lead to consequences you may not even consider, such as the development of a speech disorder! It may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but tooth loss is directly correlated with increased slurring and difficulty forming certain sounds, such as fricatives like the /sh, /fuh, or /th.
Development of mandibular disorders. (TMJ)
As discussed above, with possible changes to your facial muscles, the jaw muscles are of particular concern when it comes to missing teeth! Not only do the teeth directly stimulate the jaw muscles, keeping them active and healthy, but with one or more missing teeth, your bite may be affected in a way that further degenerates your jaw’s alignment.
The research is unmistakable – missing teeth and TMJ go hand in hand!
What can I do about it?
So far, we’ve discussed some potential drawbacks of ignoring your missing teeth. But don’t worry!
The Germantown Dental Group specializes in advanced corrective care and has extensive know-how when it comes to cosmetic as well as restorative dentistry. Both of these branches of the field are directly relevant to the problem of missing teeth, so you know that when you come to see us, we’ve got you covered! Here are a few of the options available to you to revamp your smile and keep your face and jaw happy and healthy:
An option for non-total loss, in which two or more teeth need to be replaced, is the dental bridge.
Your dentist will customize the bridge to serve as a great substitute for the missing teeth, fitting naturally into the area where the loss occurred. Artificial teeth, in combination with dental crowns, will serve to restore your smile and maintain oral health.
In the case of a total loss, a set of dentures can be a good option. Dentures are prosthetics that serve in place of the missing teeth and may be made of any of a number of materials, although nowadays, they are most commonly formed of acrylic resin, which is lightweight and strong, as well as easily manipulated into the proper casts.
Dentures can be full or partial. While traditional dentures involve the use of an adhesive and require removal and exterior maintenance, a more attractive option may be implant dentures, in which Dr. Whittemore or Dr. Gruen will combine dental implants, which have the benefit of a full root structure with one or a series of dentures permanently attached to the implants.
With the grounding of dental implants, dentures can do a much better job of serving as a full-time replacement for your old teeth, and you get to avoid all of the frustrations that come with traditional removable dentures.
Speaking of Dental implants, in cases where the coverage of a denture isn’t necessary due to the loss of only one or a few teeth, implants are the best option for a number of reasons. Dental implants are unique in that they replicate the entire structure of the tooth, not just the visible crown. This goes a long way towards preventing the unintended consequences of missing teeth, such as jawbone deterioration and facial sagging, by directly stimulating the bone in the same way as your natural teeth did.
Best of all, they’ll look and feel just like your old teeth!
Don’t wait! Call today and schedule your appointment!
No matter what the particular circumstances of your missing tooth or teeth are, Dr. Whittemore and Dr. Gruen are on-hand and highly capable of restoring your smile!
The most important thing when it comes to avoiding all the problems associated with tooth loss covered above is to get things taken care of – fast. The sooner you fill in the gap caused by your missing teeth, the less chance any side effects have of taking hold.
We at the Germantown Dental Group are dedicated to your care. We live right here in the Greater Memphis area, we raise our kids here, and we view our patients as an extension of our family, not some bottom line.
And that’s the kind of care you deserve. Personal, attentive, and highly skilled. Come see why we’re the longest-running dental practice in Germantown. Schedule your free consultation today!