Are your missing teeth making you look older? If they are front teeth, the answer is obvious, a gap in your smile will make you look older. However, a fact that is less obvious to many is that even missing teeth in the back of your mouth can change your appearance. If you have missing molars and haven’t yet noticed a difference, you will. Missing teeth, no matter where they were located, take a toll on the structure of your mouth, eroding facial support. With dental implants, Washington DC patients can restore that structure, preventing missing teeth from making them look old before their time.
How Common Are Missing Teeth?
Missing teeth are a very common problem in adults, with most having lost at least one by the age of 40, more often several. Often, the loss of a tooth or two in the back of the mouth is accepted with a out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude, particularly when the gap doesn’t show or affect the ability to chew efficiently.
However, such a casual attitude isn’t wise, since tooth loss has unpleasant affects on both appearance and oral health that may not be immediately apparent.
How Missing Teeth Affect Your Mouth
Tooth loss affects the structure of the mouth. The chief issue is bone loss in the jaw, which is an inevitable consequence of leaving a toothless gap in the mouth.
That is because the tooth root, which is anchored in the jawbone, exerts stress on the jawbone as you chew. That stress stimulates cells called osteoblasts to produce new bone cells to strengthen the area, as part of a process called bone remodeling. Bone remodeling is a continuous process, with old bone cells reabsorbed and new ones produced to replace them.
When that tooth root is removed from the jaw, that stimulation doesn’t occur, causing bone cell production in the area to slow. Meanwhile, aged bone cells continue to be reabsorbed at the same pace, causing bone loss, shrinking and weakening the jaw.
Since the teeth and jawbones provide support for the cheeks and lips, tooth loss and the bone shrinkage that results from it can make some undesirable changes in your appearance. Over time, the lips and cheeks will collapse inwards as their support gradually melts away, producing a saggy, wrinkled look in your face that will add years to your appearance.
Thinner jawbones also shorten the length of the face when the mouth is closed, giving the cheeks a flabby, loose appearance.This is the look that many of us notice in denture wearers over time, especially if they haven’t kept up with regular fitting adjustments, as bone loss gradually erodes the jawbones.
Your Best Solution to Missing Teeth
Fortunately, people who suffer tooth loss can prevent much of that erosion of the jawbone with dental implants. Oral Surgeons and other dental professionals consider implants are best possible option for tooth replacement, since they offer what dentures and bridges cannot, a structure that mimics that of the natural tooth.
By inserting an implant into the jawbone, Dr. Emery creates an artificial tooth root, which provides the stimulation necessary to maintain bone strength and density. The implant will be incorporated into the jaw in the same manner as a natural tooth root as healing occurs, offering a firm foundation for an attractive, natural looking replacement tooth.
Today, people with missing teeth do not have to settle for looking older than they feel. By choosing teeth restoration with dental implants, Washington DC dental patients can achieve the very best results in terms of appearance and oral health. Implants help protect against bone loss and the aged look it creates, and they feel, function and look just like natural teeth.
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