If you close your mouth when you smile because of a missing tooth or teeth, it is more than just your self-esteem that is at risk.

Aesthetics is the most obvious effect when it comes to lost teeth, but the way you look and feel can also have a profound psychological affect on you as well. However, it not just those unsightly gaps that are causing problems.

According to Web MD, it’s not just about your teeth. Your bone is also affected, as it requires stimulation in order to maintain density and form. The sac like alveolar bone supports and surrounds the teeth and gives stimulation from the actual tooth or teeth.

Teeth connect with each other hundreds of times a day. These small connections are transmitted through your periodontal ligament. That ligament suspends the tooth and the socket in order to promote bone growth.

When you lose a tooth, the lack of ligament stimulation actually causes bone loss, which eventually leads to loss of bone volume. After the bone loses its width, it will also lose its height. This back and forth process will cause a decrease in your gum tissue eventually affecting the way you chew and speak. Loss of teeth means loss of function.

People who have lost a majority of their teeth can also be prone to more jaw fractures because of jawbone volume depletion.

However, missing teeth are not the end of the world if you schedule an appointment with your dentist for a tooth replacement procedure.

To replace a lost tooth or teeth, your dentist can place a fixed dental bridge, fit you for a partial or full set of dentures, or opt for dental implants.

Dental implants are the most natural option and can literally last a lifetime. Dental bridges or dentures have a lifespan of about 10 to 15 years and will eventually need to be replaced.

One of the biggest advantages of dental implants is that just like dentures they can be used to replace more than one tooth. A fixed dental bridge requires natural healthy teeth that sit on the sides of the missing tooth.

If you have a missing tooth or teeth and have been considering a fixed dental bridge, dentures or dental implants, schedule an appointment with your dentist who can determine what procedure would be best for your particular needs. 

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