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Approximately 40 million Americans are missing all of their natural teeth, and over 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. If you’re one of the 178 million, replacing your missing tooth can restore your self-esteem and boost your confidence. Dr. Lovely Manlapaz Teodoro of The Dental Center of Hercules can replace your missing tooth (or teeth) with bridges, dental implants, and full/partial dentures.
In this article, Dr. Teodoro shares that — regardless of which method you choose to replace a missing tooth — replacing a tooth is more than just a cosmetic issue.
Restoring the appearance of your smile may be a driving factor for seeking out replacement options, but the reality is that replacing a missing tooth or teeth improves your overall well-being in many ways.
Prosthetic teeth — whether implants, dentures, or bridges — provide the following benefits:
Your teeth play an important role in the digestive process. They are responsible for grinding your food into smaller pieces. Each tooth has a specific role in this process. For example, your incisors are designed to cut food, and molars are designed to grind food. Depending on which tooth is missing, your food may not be chewed as thoroughly as it could be, leading to indigestion.
Restoring a missing tooth can facilitate better chewing and better digestion.
Depending on which tooth you’re missing, you may find yourself making adjustments to your diet. For example, if you’re missing several molars, you might limit meat, which can be hard to chew without molars. Limiting certain types of food can negatively impact your nutrition.
On the flip side, restoring any missing teeth allows you to choose food based on its nutritional qualities — not whether or not you can chew it.
Believe it or not, your teeth affect your speech. Your lips, tongue, and teeth change position to control the airflow out of your mouth to form words and sounds. Replacing a tooth, especially if it’s one of your front teeth, can contribute to clearer speech.
Bone loss is a main side effect of missing teeth. Even if just one tooth is extracted, the surrounding jaw bone starts to erode. Jaw bone atrophy can change your facial structure, and if too much bone erodes, it places your other surrounding teeth at risk.
Dental implants can prevent jawbone atrophy by stimulating your bone to grow, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.
Note: This benefit is strictly related to dental implants. Bridges and dentures don’t stimulate jaw bone growth.
When your teeth are aligned and your jawbone isn’t compromised, you’ll enjoy a better bite. When your bite is properly aligned, you can avoid unnecessary wear-and-tear on your teeth, which is a common side effect of misaligned bites.
If you’re missing a tooth and want to explore your replacement options, call our Hercules, California, office at 510-254-3328. Alternatively, you can schedule an appointment via our website.
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