If you’re missing multiple teeth in your upper and lower jaw, take steps to replace them. Even if it’s not a big problem now, you’re missing teeth can eventually affect how well you chew food and stay nourished later. In addition, tooth loss can cause problems with your remaining teeth.
This post discusses how tooth loss affects your ability to eat and what you can do to stop it.
How Tooth Loss Affects Your Ability to Chew
Each tooth has its own unique placement in your mouth. Your molars and premolars grind food into tiny bits, while your incisors and canines cut and tear food into bite-size pieces. When you lose teeth to decay, gum disease or trauma, you disrupt the positions and functions of your remaining teeth. These changes eventually affect how you eat.
Your remaining teeth gradually migrate or move toward the empty tooth sockets of your missing teeth. The migration causes some of your remaining teeth to lean, turn sideways, or twist in their own sockets. These issues can affect how well your teeth cut, slice or grind the food you eat.
When you get the point where you can no longer chew properly, you’ll probably choose foods you can mash with your tongue or swallow easily, such as boiled potatoes and tuna. However, if you limit your diet too much, your body won’t receive the nutrition it needs to be healthy and strong.
In addition, you could potentially experience digestive problems from tooth loss. When you eat, your teeth and tongue work together to stimulate the saliva inside your mouth. Saliva contains special chemicals that make it easier for food to slide down your throat and enter your digestive system.
If you act now, you can prevent or slow down the problems mentioned above.
What You Can Do About Your Missing Teeth
One of the most important things you can do is see a dental provider about your missing teeth. A dentist offers many solutions to replace your lost teeth, including dentures, bridges and veneers. However, dental implants may be a better solution for you.
Dental implants are metal or ceramic posts that look, function and behave just like your natural teeth. The posts fit discreetly into the empty sockets of your mouth. Once the implants bond with your natural bone tissue, they become permanent fixtures.
Implant treatment can be a long procedure and it can take up to six months to fully heal. The length of time usually depends on how many teeth you need to replace, as well as the condition of your jawbones.
If your jawbones are thin or weak from tooth loss, you may need to undergo a bone grafting procedure prior to your implant procedure. Although it doesn’t occur with every adult, some people can experience a loss of bone tissue in their jaws once they lose teeth. Bone grafting replaces or rebuilds the lost bone tissue.
After a dentist rebuilds your jawbones and places your implants, they cover the implants with crowns. Crowns can prevent your natural teeth from shifting position or migrating in the future. It’s important to maintain good oral care when you get your new crowns. Although crowns are artificial, they can still build up with plaque and food, just like your natural teeth.
Your dental implants may last for a lifetime with good oral care and regular dental visits. Dental implants also allow you to eat a variety of foods, including fresh vegetables and solid meat. A healthy diet containing vitamin D and calcium can keep your jawbones strong and healthy.
If you’re ready to replace your missing teeth, contact Travis Wilson D.M.D for a consultation and possible treatment today.