Teeth may be lost for any number of reasons. Whether they are lost to injury, disease, or decay, their loss is problematic beyond simply missing teeth. The spaces left by missing teeth contribute to other dental and health problems, including:
• An altered diet
• Impaired speech
• Bone loss
• Bite misalignment
• Deformed facial appearance
Diets are affected by missing teeth. Missing teeth create a misalignment which can make chewing certain foods difficult or impossible. It can further restrict the diet to soft or easily chewed foods.
Misaligned teeth can also cause further tooth loss. Without the tooth’s counterpart, it may become loose and need to be extracted. Teeth can also shift in the mouth because of one missing tooth which can cause head, neck, and jaw pain.
The teeth play an important role in speech. Tooth to tongue contact is necessary to create certain sounds. Missing teeth can result in a lisp which may be embarrassing. The tongue also relies on teeth to keep its shape. As is broadens out to fill the space that teeth would have otherwise occupied, it can become difficult to control.
Beyond chewing and speaking, teeth serve an important function by stimulating the bone in the jaw. Without the stimulation, the bone in the jaw begins to deteriorate. How quickly the bone deteriorates varies from person to person, but it begins almost immediately after a tooth is lost. Bone loss can make having certain dental treatment difficult without a dental bone graft. In some cases, a dental bone graft is required to place dental implants.
Our teeth and jaw bone affect the facial structure. They hold the lips and cheeks in place. Missing teeth, and resulting bone loss, can cause the lips and cheeks to appear “sunken in.” Not only does this age a person greatly, it may make seeking tooth replacement more difficult.
Dr. Ryan Estes offers their patients dental bone grafts as well as several tooth replacement options in Covington, KY. Call our office today to schedule your examination.