Many people view missing teeth as nothing more than a nuisance. After all, those gaps are unattractive, and they make it difficult to chew food correctly. But did you know that the consequences of missing teeth go far beyond the mouth? As your dentist in Flagstaff explains, an incomplete smile can affect your overall health and your long-term well-being.
The human body is a very efficient machine; when a part of it isn’t being used, it begins to break down. Therefore, when you lose a tooth, your body senses that the bone that was supporting it is no longer necessary, and that bone begins to deteriorate. In the first year after one of your teeth is extracted, you may lose up to 25 percent of the bone in the surrounding area!
Your teeth aren’t cemented into your bone; rather, they’re attached via ligaments, which allow the teeth to move slightly. This mobility is normally a good thing, but when you’re missing teeth, the empty space may allow your remaining pearly whites to drift out of place. This may lead to malocclusion (bad bite), which is often related to TMJ disorder.
TMJ disorder is more than simple jaw pain. It can cause chronic headaches, facial pain, and even hearing loss.
Digestive and Nutritional Issues
It is important to be able to chew your food thoroughly because:
- There are enzymes in your mouth that begin the digestive process.
- Your stomach doesn’t have teeth; it has a hard time breaking down food that hasn’t been properly chewed.
- Not chewing your food thoroughly can lead to indigestion and acid reflux.
- When you are unable to chew your food well, you change your diet to accommodate this deficit. A softer diet often leads to a decrease in meat, fruit, and vegetables. This decrease in vitamins and proteins leads to weight loss, illness, and fatigue.
Protect Your Health with Dental Implants
Thankfully, modern dentistry offers a way for many people to prevent the oral and overall health problems that often come with tooth loss: dental implants in Flagstaff. Here are just a few of the benefits this remarkable treatment offers:
- Because implants form a bond with your body, they are able to fight bone deterioration in the jaw.
- Implants are permanently in your mouth, so they’ll never give your remaining natural teeth a chance to drift out of place.
- Implants provide a very strong bite force, allowing you to enjoy all of your favorite foods with gusto.
- Taking good care of your implants requires that you stick to an excellent oral hygiene routine — and that it itself goes a long way toward warding off gum disease!
- Know that getting your implant is time sensitive after an extraction. Waiting too long can lead to the need for a bone graft prior to the implant or sometimes lead to not having enough bone to do an implant all.
Missing teeth are more than just a cosmetic problem. It is important that you get them replaced so you can thrive from head to toe.
About the Author
Dr. John L. Bacon has been practicing dentistry for over 30 years. Throughout his career, he has dedicated much time and study to learning how to design beautiful, functional dental implant restorations. If you would like to speak to him about regaining your smile, contact our office at 928-774-1168.