Missing teeth in adults is a common occurrence in the United States. One study showed that by 44, almost 70 percent of adults in the United States were missing at least one tooth due to trauma, decay or periodontal disease. Across the country, it is estimated 178 million people are missing at least one tooth. Replacing missing teeth, or perhaps just one missing tooth, may not seem like a pressing matter, but neglecting to address the tooth loss has the potential to create a number of serious, long-term consequences.
One missing tooth can easily lead to multiple missing teeth in adults. Not treating a missing tooth can create a domino effect, leading to further tooth loss and an array of other oral health issues. Your teeth work together, as one. When a tooth is missing, it places extra strain on the other teeth. The extra strain may cause the remaining teeth to fracture, drift, tilt or break. The teeth may also shift into the empty space or spaces where teeth are missing. The shifting often happens without your knowledge and can cause your teeth to misalign. Misaligned teeth open you up to a greater chance of decay and periodontal disease.
When a neglected missing tooth inevitably leads to multiple missing teeth in adults, more serious complications occur. While one missing tooth might not impair your ability to chew, multiple missing teeth certainly will. The inability to chew properly can affect your diet, reducing it to foods that are easily chewed. The limited diet can lead to problems of poor nutrition, which carries with it a whole host of other issues.
Bone loss is another very important consequence of neglected missing teeth in adults. The underlying bone underneath the lost tooth begins to collapse when you lose a tooth. In the first year the tooth is gone, the most significant bone loss occurs. This will affect your facial structure and future treatments that eventually replace missing teeth.
Facial collapse is also on the list of potential serious, long-term consequences of missing teeth in adults. Vertical collapse, the process in which the back teeth wear as we age, can happen faster due to the additional strain missing teeth put on the other teeth. Vertical collapse also affects the structure of the face. Combined with bone loss, the result is a “sunken-in” look to the face.
With a consultation here at Implant Dentistry of the Southwest, our prosthodontist, Dr. Burton Melton, can discuss your treatment options to see which restoration would be right for you. Give us a call today at 505-883-7744 to schedule a consultation and learn more about prosthodontics in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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