Tooth loss isn’t an issue to take lightly. Leaving tooth loss untreated for months or even years can negatively impact your health. Dr. James A. Vito and his staff recommend addressing your missing teeth as soon as possible before it gets to the point where it will cost you more in terms of procedures, time and money to resolve.
Dealing with tooth loss isn’t an uncommon problem for many Americans. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, approximately 69% of Americans age 35 to 44 have at least one missing tooth. This issue is even more severe for older Americans where 1 in 4 over the age of 74 missing all of their natural teeth.
There are a handful of reasons tooth loss can occur, but the most common reasons boil down to a dental injury, periodontal disease or age:
Serious head or facial trauma can lead to a tooth being knocked out. In other instances, the tooth may not be immediately knocked out but will need to be extracted. Those who are active or play contact sports should be especially aware of the dangers of dental trauma.
Are you brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist for regular checkups? Following these dental health fundamentals keeps your smile healthy and free from disease. If patients fail to follow a proper oral hygiene routine, the risk for tooth decay and gum disease significantly increases. These oral diseases can then end up leading to tooth loss.
Many older patients can struggle with their dental health because bone and gum tissue are affected by their medications and poor oral hygiene habits. These patients will inevitably face the risk of tooth loss.
When a tooth is first lost patients may not sense any notable differences other than the gap in their smile. In reality, this is just the start of many potential problems spurred on by untreated tooth loss. Without the stimulation of chewing and biting, the underlying jawbone will begin to deteriorate. In just the first year of tooth loss, there is a 25% decrease in the width of the alveolar bone.
As this supportive jawbone begins to lose width, it will also lose height and continue to weaken. Think of the jawbone like the foundation of a house. Without a strong foundation, you ultimately have a weak structure. The same is true for your smile — a weak jawbone compromises the health, function and aesthetics of your smile.
Untreated tooth loss will result in several problems including increased risk for additional tooth loss, shifting teeth, difficulty chewing and/or speaking. The jawbone is also important for facial support, so it’s not uncommon for patients to notice changes in their facial structure and appearance. A deteriorated jawbone causes the cheeks to appear hollow and sunken in, along with an overall more aged appearance of the face.
While it’s easy to recognize the medical risks of untreated tooth loss, the emotional toll of leaving gaps in your smile can be just as costly. A 2008 survey from the Academy of General Dentistry, shed light on the physiological impact of tooth loss. According to the survey, 86% of patients noted social embarrassment as a problem associated with tooth loss. Other common issues include:
Whether you’ve just recently experienced tooth loss or you’ve been dealing with your missing teeth for years, dental implants can be the ideal treatment for you. Take the first step on your journey to a beautiful smile and contact our office today. To learn more about dental implant candidacy and what treatment can mean for your smile, schedule your no-obligation consultation with Dr. James A. Vito today!
Dr. James Vito
523 East Lancaster Ave
Monday: 8AM – 5PM
Tuesday: 8AM – 5PM
Wednesday: 8AM – 5PM
Thursday: 8AM – 5PM
Friday: 8AM – 5PM