A common symptom of aging (or contact sports) is the loss of teeth. Our chompers don’t last forever, and when they start to wear out, they need to be safely repaired or removed. If you’ve undergone a tooth extraction or have simply lost one, and it’s not totally obvious, it may be tempting to save money and time by not replacing it. Unfortunately, you could be landing yourself in hot water down the road. Here are some reasons why it’s important for your health to replace a lost tooth or teeth.
You might have a great sense of self and be totally comfortable with the way you look. However, a prominent missing tooth isn’t as socially acceptable as a unique fashion sense or hairdo. The cultural connotation of missing teeth isn’t positive, and regardless of your personality, it’s bound to get to you at some point or another. If you don’t believe replacing a lost tooth is going to have physical health benefits, consider the mental health benefits, too. There is nothing wrong or superficial in fixing a problem because it makes you emotionally uncomfortable.
Your Jaw and Gums
Your smile isn’t the only thing missing a tooth, your jaw and gums will be affected, as well. Your teeth stimulate your gums which, in turn, adhere to your jaw bone. If you’re missing teeth, even one, the gum will be less stimulated and more likely to recede. This could result in the loss of more teeth and other dental problems if the teeth on the other side of the jaw start slowly moving into the gap left behind.
Your Face Shape
If you have lost multiple teeth, that will definitely have an effect on the shape of your mouth. If your teeth keep shifting back to make up for the new space in your mouth, you will notice a distinct change in the layout and appearance of your face. Your cheeks will sink in because they aren’t supported by the row of teeth they once were, and your jawbone will recede when it has less teeth. This could result in a collapsed bite. All of these problems will make you look older than you actually are.
If Not Now, When?
If you’re planning on replacing a tooth, but are delaying, don’t. In nearly every case it’s the best course of action to take care of these replacements sooner rather than later. Otherwise other teeth could shift and the shape of your mouth could change in such ways that they would prevent a proper replacement. If you have the means to take care of the problem immediately, that is exactly what you should do.