There’s a perception that “other” people are missing a tooth or two…or more. Truth be told, the esteemed American Dental Association says that 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. And — this may give you pause — 35 million Americans are missing all of their teeth. You read that right. The ADA also expects those numbers to grow as the country ages.
Holy Duck Dynasty casting call! Who knew so many people were missing their teeth?
If you’re a part of those statistics, you may be thinking you’d just as soon save a few dollars and NOT have that missing tooth replaced. After all, just because your Aunt Edna’s holiday brittle was anything but brittle and it chipped your tooth, which eventually needed extraction, why bother replacing it? It’s just a missing tooth, right?
Wrong. There are many reasons to replace your missing tooth with the team at Gentle Dental, preferably with the gold standard of tooth replacement, a dental implant.
- Appearance — If you’re missing one of your front teeth, come on! Even players for the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies of the East Coast Hockey League get their teeth fixed! Last time we checked, GQ isn’t looking for any models missing one of their front teeth.
- Eating ability — If you’re missing a front tooth, chewing and biting can be an issue. Plus, every time you do bite into something, you’re putting more pressure on the adjacent front teeth to carry the load. If you’re missing a molar chewing can be a problem. Chewing on one side can begin to create TMJ problems. And having a missing tooth or teeth can make you avoid eating certain foods, which can lead to gaps in your nutrition.
- Movement — Your teeth stay in place due to pressure from the adjacent teeth. Now the teeth on each side of your gap no longer have any pressure to stay put. Without that pressure they’ll slide over into the gap (think crowded bleachers when one person leaves to go to the concession stand). That makes for some lovely alignment issues, which can create bite issues, which can lead to TMJ disorders.
- Jawbone absorption — If you’re missing a tooth or a couple of teeth, you’re also not doing your jawbone any favors. You see, the teeth take the enormous force generated when biting and chewing and they transfer that energy directly down through the teeth into the jawbone they are anchored in. That energy signals the jawbone to keep producing new bone cells, shedding old ones. That’s what you call regeneration, and that’s what keeps your jawbone healthy and full-sized. When there isn’t any stimulation coming down through that missing tooth, the jawbone beneath it begins to deteriorate. Over time, that deterioration, particularly if you’re missing a couple teeth in one spot, can become dramatic and that area of your face can begin to collapse inward. Don’t believe it? Check out the face of a person missing lots of teeth.
- Implants are like teeth, only with a little titanium — A dental implant with its titanium base accepted and integrated into the jawbone behaves exactly like a natural tooth. You can eat whatever you want. Caring for them is no different than your regular teeth. And now you don’t look like you should be playing a banjo on a porch in Appalachia.
Isn’t it time to replace that missing tooth, or to do something about that tooth with the serious decay? Call us at Gentle Dental, (732) 549-5660, our three dentists have extensive experience placing implants and can give you back your full, gapless smile.