missing toothA missing tooth may affect your self-confidence. According to a survey by the American Dental Association, 23 percent of adults in the United States are embarrassed by the state of their oral and dental health.

Although dental implants in Scottsdale, Arizona, or any city in the state now make it easier to replace missing teeth, some people could still ignore this dental problem and go about their lives. However, losing a tooth doesn’t just decrease your confidence.

Your missing teeth can corrode your jawbone, too.

Bone Resorption

Like the rest of your body, your bones are living cells. Bones, just like muscles, require physical stimulus to stay strong and healthy. Physical activity and forces that biting and chewing generate help balance the creation of osteoblasts and osteoclasts. The former is responsible for strengthening your bones whereas the latter weakens and breaks it down.

Some diseases, like osteoporosis, affect your body’s ability to create a balanced mix of these two cells. The imbalance can lead to bone loss or bone resorption, if the loss occurs around the jaw and mouth.

When you lose a tooth, due to trauma or disease, the part of your jaw that used to connect to the missing tooth no longer gets as much stimulation from the movement of your mouth. Without the stimulus from your missing tooth, the osteoclasts deteriorate your jawbone much faster than the osteoblasts can strengthen them, resulting in bone resorption.

Up to 25 percent of your jawbone might be reabsorbed by your body within a year of losing your tooth. As you can expect, such a significant loss in bone mass can lead to several problems.

Impacts of Bone Loss

The bone lost to resorption is impossible to replace. With your jawbone weakened or massively altered by the loss, you’ll have a difficult time finding dentures that fit comfortably.

However, a more distressing consequence of jawbone deterioration is facial collapse. This occurs when the mouth appears to shrink back, causing the chin to seem more pointed.

Altered facial structure leads to other health effects. The jawbone’s retreat weakens your facial muscles, which causes premature wrinkles to manifest around your mouth and lips. The radical shift of your jawbone also undermines the foundation and stability of any teeth you have left. With your jawbone destabilized, your teeth are more prone to shifting.

Other effects of neglecting to replace a missing tooth are varied. You may find it difficult to use your jaw, hampering your ability to speak clearly and eat as much as you want. The latter leads to poor nutrition due to the difficulty in chewing and biting. Finally, the combination of bone loss and the resulting muscle weakness makes way for pain on your face and jaw.

Tooth loss, like any health concern, can spiral quickly into a bigger issue if left untreated. When you lose a tooth, don’t hesitate and head on to a trusted dental practitioner near you. Doing so as soon as possible can preserve your jawbone and your health.

 A Dentist You Can Trust

Scottsdale-based family dentist Rod W. Gore has been a trusted caretaker of healthy smiles in Arizona for almost thirty years.

View our smile gallery today, and see how he brightens up any smile.