The things going on inside your mouth are often responsible for the things going on outside your mouth. Or rather, it’s what’s missing from your mouth that should take the blame. If you have one or more missing teeth, your smile is interrupted by holes. But it’s not just the appearance of your smile that has been altered. When you don’t have teeth filling your gums, you’re setting yourself up for premature aging.
The Side Effects of Missing Teeth
Missing teeth create cosmetic and functional problems. Premature aging is the biggest issue for many people with missing teeth. No one wants to see the telltale signs of aging decades sooner than expected.
Here are just some of the ways missing teeth contribute to the appearance of premature aging:
1. Unstimulated Jawbone
Your teeth and jawbone work together to maintain your face structure and unique appearance. You don’t want your face to sag because you’re missing teeth but that’s exactly what can happen when your jawbone goes unstimulated.
Tooth roots live within your jawbone, keeping that bone lively and working hard. Without the innerworkings of teeth there to keep the jawbone healthy, the bone will begin to disintegrate and take your natural face shape right along with it. You may argue that one missing tooth can’t make any difference, but deterioration doesn’t stop where the missing tooth is – bone loss can progress under healthy teeth, and that can prompt further tooth loss too.
The results? A compressed or shrunken-looking jaw and mouth, sagging skin around the jaw and chin, and sunken-in cheeks. And it’s not just the lower jaw that’s a problem. If you’re missing teeth in your upper jaw, the cheekbones will begin to sink in and the skin to sag, creating a droopy appearance in profile and head on.
2. Poor Chewing
Your teeth are incredibly important. They aren’t just the showpiece of your smile, they do the hard work of chewing food thoroughly so it can be swallowed. When your gums are doing the work instead of your teeth, your mouth and jaw will become worn out from trying to substitute for teeth. The result can be a problem with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Any grinding and clenching caused by a compromised TMJ will make your jaw look and feel older.
3. Underworked Jawbone
Nothing screams “infant” or “old” faster than a soft-food diet. Purees, puddings, soups, smoothies – these gentle foods are great after oral surgery or illness, but they can’t be maintained for long periods of time, at least not if you want to get the nutrients you need and exercise your jawbone properly.
When the jawbone cannot exert pressure through biting and chewing, the jawbone weakens over time. This can make the jaw more susceptible to fractures and other oral health problems, making your face look older in the process.
Replacing Missing Teeth with Dental Implants
If you have lost a tooth or had a tooth extracted because of trauma or disease, you have time to decide how to proceed with replacing that missing tooth, but you don’t want to wait too long, so you can prevent any deterioration from occurring.
There are several ways to complete your smile, but your Suwanee dentist will often recommend dental implants as the most viable dental restoration. Above all, implants stimulate the jawbone, just like a natural tooth would, and this effort preserves the jawbone and facial structure.
If you could prevent yourself from looking older with a certain solution, wouldn’t you do it? Replacing missing teeth is the only way to make sure your appearance doesn’t shift sooner than nature intended. Visit Dr. Mitul Patel and his team at Family & Cosmetic Dental Care in Johns Creek to discuss dental implants and other oral surgeries that are appropriate for you. Contact us today.