June 13, 2022
Tooth loss is a common problem, especially among the elderly and disadvantaged. Most people are primarily concerned with how it impacts their smile- but the truth is, the consequences of missing teeth run much deeper than aesthetics. When you are missing one or more teeth, it affects your overall health and when you wait too long to replace your missing teeth, it can cause the problems to worsen.
So, how long can you wait to replace missing teeth? Ideally, you should address the problem of missing teeth as soon as possible. If you have extractions done, you should wait no more than four to six months to replace the missing teeth. This will give your gums time to heal, but still, be soon enough that you don’t have to worry about your teeth shifting.
There are several options for replacing your missing teeth, but dental implants are the best one, as they become part of your mouth. The implants are inserted into your jawbone and, as the jawbone heals, the process of osseointegration occurs, meaning the implant becomes so fused with the bone that it’s impossible to separate the two without fracture.
As mentioned, it’s important to have your missing teeth replaced as soon as possible. If not, there are several consequences. The main one most people are concerned about is the aesthetics of their smile. However, the consequences run much deeper than that. We will look at some of these below:
One of the most common causes of tooth loss is gum disease, due to the deterioration of the gum tissue. Unfortunately, after you lose a tooth, your risk of gum disease and bacterial infections increases. This leads to further deterioration of the gums and additional tooth loss. It’s a nasty cycle to get caught up in.
After all, it’s easy for food particles and bacteria to collect inside of empty dental sockets and once the bacteria and plaque have settled into the socket, brushing can’t always get those areas clean. Also, when you’re missing teeth, it exposes the sides and roots of adjacent teeth, allowing bacteria to attack them.
These empty sockets also open the door for bacteria to get into your bloodstream. This creates health risks for other areas of your body, increasing your risk of inflammation of heart valves and heart and/or lung disease.
Your teeth are always under pressure from either side, so this means that they depend on support from adjacent teeth to remain in place. When you lose a tooth, it can cause the adjacent teeth to shift into the spot where it used to be.
When you wait too long to replace missing teeth, it can cause the adjacent teeth to shift to the point that you end up with crowded teeth. As teeth shift into the open spaces, it can create pressure and tight spaces between teeth and gums, making it more difficult to clean them and promoting the growth of bacteria.
Chances are, you know that your gums and jawbone play an integral role in keeping your teeth in place. However, you may not realize that your teeth are critical for keeping your gums and jawbone healthy. When tooth roots are present in these tissues, they are stimulated, causing the body to constantly repair damaged cells.
Without this stimulation, your body could slowly reabsorb parts of your gums and jawbone, which accelerates tooth loss and can change the structure of your face. Upper jawbone deterioration causes the face to curve inward, which is called facial collapse. Lower jawbone deterioration causes the chin to recede, diminishing your jawline.
As you can see, not replacing your missing teeth early has significant consequences. You could lose more teeth, the remaining teeth could become misaligned- creating more dental problems, and you could lose the structure of your face. It’s important to note that these are just a few of the consequences.
According to the experts, tooth replacement options that sit on top of your gums may help counteract gum tissue loss- but they don’t do anything to stimulate the jawbone, so you may still have issues. However, dental implants and implant-supported bridges or dentures are your best options, since the implants fuse with the jawbone.
There are several reasons why you would want to replace your missing teeth with dental implants. Here are 5 of them:
Dental implants are the perfect cosmetic dentistry solution to restore your perfect smile because they look, feel, and function like your natural teeth. They are made from titanium and are designed to fuse with your jawbone, which can prevent future tooth loss.
Since it does fuse with your jawbone over time, it feels just as comfortable as your natural teeth. You can smile, eat, talk, and do everything you could with your natural teeth with dental implants.
If you’re looking for something that will last the rest of your life with proper care, dental implants are the best option. Since they fuse with your bone, strength and durability are guaranteed with dental implants. As long as you take proper care of them, they will not wear out. Some of the other tooth replacement options, such as dentures or bridges, need to be replaced from time to time.
Dental implants will not negatively impact your remaining natural teeth. Many of the other tooth replacement options may weaken your natural teeth. However, dental implants fuse with your jawbone, so they don’t need your natural teeth for support- but they do support your natural teeth, which can prevent further tooth loss.
As mentioned, missing teeth increases your risk of gum and jawbone deterioration, but dental implants can prevent this. By fusing with your jawbone, the bone is stimulated, which prevents it from being reabsorbed into the body. This protects your facial structure. Other tooth replacement options don’t support the jawbone, which ultimately leads to deterioration.
Dental implants look, feel, and function like your natural teeth. Therefore, you don’t have to make any major changes to your oral hygiene. Simply just keep doing what you always have- brushing and flossing keeps your dental implants in good shape.
Other options have an effect on your normal routine. Dentures and bridges typically require special creams and must be removed and soaked overnight- leaving you without teeth during that time.