As people age, the need to have teeth removed may increase. Whether it’s normal wear and tear that has worn your teeth down, or something worse like cavities or tooth decay, having teeth removed can resolve dental problems. But if not properly treated, the removal of teeth can cause a whole host of other problems, too.
One major problem caused by missing teeth is lowered self-esteem, especially if the missing teeth are visible. But that’s not even the worst problem missing teeth can cause. Another issue you may experience from lost teeth is called facial collapse. Sounds scary, right? Well, it can be, especially when you consider the side effects.
Facial collapse occurs when the jaw no longer has teeth filling in the jawbone. Have you ever seen that sunken look in the face of people who don’t wear dentures or have dental implants but are missing all their teeth?
In addition to looking unattractive to some, it can pose a serious risk to your bone health. That’s because, without teeth present in the jaw, the jaw can begin to deteriorate. This can cause serious problems, including loss of gum tissue and even loss of bone, which in addition to causing the jaw to deteriorate, can, in serious cases, require portions of the jaw to be removed entirely!
How To Prevent Facial Collapse
Worse yet, these problems can be caused by missing just a few teeth. This is why Dr. Morgan recommends replacing missing teeth as quickly as possible. Thankfully, there are options for those looking to prevent facial collapse.
Believe it or not, something as simple as a pair of dentures can make a huge difference in preventing facial collapse. Dentures not only temporarily replace missing teeth and give you a beautiful smile, but they also help support the gums and jaw, and can help prevent facial collapse.
A dental bridge is a device that is made of several crowns that hook to a healthy tooth and are cemented in place. This not only improves the cosmetic appearance of your smile, but it can also help you chew and prevent bone and gum deterioration where the teeth are missing. A bridge is a great solution if you are only missing a few teeth and still have some healthy natural teeth.
Dental implants are the gold standard when it comes to replacing missing teeth. They are installed by drilling a screw into the bone. Once the surrounding bone and tissue has healed, a crown is screwed onto the exposed screw, giving you a replacement tooth that looks and feels natural. While you can remove the affixed crown to be repaired or replaced, for all intents and purposes, crowns are considered a permanent solution to missing teeth.
It is important to note, however, that the longer you go without replacing a tooth, the harder it can be for the screw to heal properly. In some cases, the implant will “fail” and will not be able to be used. That is why it is imperative to replace missing teeth as quickly as possible.
Proper Oral Health Care
The best way to prevent facial collapse is to care for your teeth to the best of your ability. That includes twice-yearly visits to Dr. Morgan for cleanings and exams, brushing your teeth twice a day for a minimum of two minutes per brushing, and flossing between each tooth at least once per day. With these steps, you are much less likely to get cavities and gum disease, both of which contribute to tooth loss, including teeth that have fallen out naturally or been pulled. This in turn reduces your risk of facial collapse.
If you are already missing adult teeth (besides your wisdom teeth) and are concerned about facial collapse, contact Dr. Morgan and discuss your options. While it won’t happen to everyone, it is a genuine concern that can not only cause damage to your self-esteem, but also to your gum tissue and jawbones. It can even move your teeth out of alignment, changing your bite, which can result in pain and difficulty while chewing and speaking, and can even make you more prone to cavities.