Last Updated on October 28, 2023 by Jade
Missing teeth happen to be quite common. Data available from the American Dental Association (ADA) indicates that on average, American adults aged between 20 and 64 have 3 or more missing or decayed teeth.
They also state that missing teeth result from three main causes. They include gum disease, tooth decay, and trauma. When an individual is missing several teeth, it can lead to many other issues that can negatively impact oral health.
In this article, we will look closer at several of the problems that come from missing teeth.
Issues Resulting From Missing Teeth
If you have missing teeth, problems can develop. Here is a brief list of missing teeth problems that can be experienced.
- Bone Loss: Your jawbone gets exercised when you use your teeth. When several teeth are missing, you don’t tend to use your jaw as much. This lack of stimulation can lead to bone loss.
- Shifting Teeth: Each tooth in your mouth assists in supporting other surrounding teeth. When a gap is created from one or more missing teeth, the remaining teeth slowly shift position to fill that gap. This can result in the misalignment of the remaining teeth. This misalignment can cause difficulty eating and flossing and creates conditions that can develop into gum disease or tooth decay.
- Trouble Chewing: A full set of teeth permits efficient eating habits. They all work together for biting, tearing, and chewing food. Missing teeth hamper this and may force you to eat only certain foods that do not harm your gums and mouth when biting, tearing, and chewing.
- Trouble Speaking: Teeth are essential in helping the mouth form sounds that become words. Missing teeth can cause speech difficulties whereby it is hard to make the correct sounds. Sometimes this results in slurred or difficult-to-understand speech.
- Mental Health Issues: Some people who are missing teeth are severely impacted in other ways. Depression and anxiety result from not having a bright, flawless smile or feelings of not being attractive because of missing teeth.
- Premature Aging: Your face structure includes a mouth full of teeth. When some of those teeth are missing, it causes parts of your face to sag. This not only makes it difficult to smile, but it makes your face look as if it has aged a few years.
- Self-Esteem Issues: A study revealed that 25 percent of individuals who are missing teeth are so self-conscious about their appearance that they are too embarrassed to smile. This lowers self-esteem to dangerous levels.
- Job Interview Issues: The same study on self-esteem issues and missing teeth discovered that over 25 percent of those surveyed believed that their missing teeth were the direct cause of their previous job interview not being successful.
- Increased Health Risks: When you have one or more missing teeth, it is important to not delay treatment. This is because when you leave this condition unchecked, you can develop gum disease. Gum disease also leads to other serious health issues including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease to just name a few.
- Increased Risk of More Tooth Loss: A missing tooth can result in missing teeth. That is because each tooth has a great impact on surrounding teeth. A study shows that if you do not replace missing teeth, you increase the odds of losing more by 30 percent.
Three Common Missing Teeth Solutions
Modern technology and dental innovation have led to three main solutions to missing teeth problems. They include dental implants, dentures, and dental bridges.
- Dentures: Dentures include partial and full dentures for either the upper jaw or lower jaw. These are plates of false teeth. A partial denture replaces one or a few missing teeth. A full plate replaces an entire row of missing teeth. It does take a bit of getting used to wearing false teeth, but once you get the hang of it, you and the people around you will barely know you have false teeth in your mouth.
- Dental Implants: A dental implant is a perfect solution to replacing a single missing tooth. A titanium screw is placed into the jawbone and left to heal. This screw acts as the anchor for a false tooth that is later attached. This crown is created to look like the natural teeth it sits next to.
- Dental Bridges: This is a set of false teeth that are attached to a frame that bridges the gap between natural teeth. The bridge is supported by brackets on either side of it that are normally held in place by natural teeth.
Missing Teeth Problems FAQs
Can missing teeth cause health problems?
Yes, missing teeth can be the start of a series of health issues that are not just related to oral health. Although gum disease is the most likely issue to develop, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease are all on the list of potential problems resulting from missing teeth.
Can missing teeth cause speech problems?
Yes, missing teeth can cause problems speaking. The sounds we make with our mouths are possible by moving air around our mouth, tongue, teeth, and lips. With some teeth missing, it impacts how we create the sounds we turn into words.
Can missing teeth cause TMJ?
Yes, missing teeth can trigger TMJ (temporomandibular joints). TMJ can cause difficulty eating, and severe pain in the joints that bring the jaw and skull together.
Can missing teeth cause digestive problems?
Yes, missing teeth can cause your stomach to produce more acids. The acids are a response to partially chewed foods. The additional acid volume can result in indigestion and damage to the delicate lining of the stomach.
Can missing teeth cause jaw pain?
Jaw pain is one of the symptoms of TMJ (temporomandibular joints), which can be triggered by missing teeth.
Can missing teeth cause snoring?
If the missing teeth are contributing to a narrowing of the airway, snoring may occur.
Missing teeth can be a problem if you do not treat the situation promptly. Fortunately, several solutions exist to remedy the loss of one or more teeth.
Your teeth do much more for you than permit you to eat, speak and smile. This is why it is so important to have a healthy mouth full of strong, clean teeth and avoid all the issues that come with missing teeth problems.