Teeth are meant for far more than chewing. For dentists, they are diagnostic tools, which measure lifestyle choices and general health. One lost tooth is an open door for bacteria in the mouth to permeate the remaining teeth and gum.
The structure of the mouth is perfectly designed to perform a variety of precision tasks. Think of teeth as the support structures in a building. Removing one beam would compromise the entire home. Teeth are dependent on their counterparts to maintain their position and prevent movement from side to side.
What Are Teeth Good For?
First of all, they help people to enunciate. Speech is a crucial element, but often overlooked aspect of clear communication. With missing teeth, speech can become distorted. They are also an essential part of the digestive system. Improper chewing limits the nutrients which can be absorbed from food.
Teeth, of course, also bring an aesthetic quality to the face and enhance the appearances. Healthy teeth are also often indicators of good general health and personal hygiene.
The Consequences of a Missing Tooth
When a tooth is lost, surrounding ones shift to try to fill in the space. As teeth move, periodontal pockets develop under the gums, and infections become more common. Additionally, the jaw bone begins to recede, and the structure changes, as does the appearance of the face. The support for lips and cheeks deteriorate, and they may develop a sunken look. This lack of structure makes the jaw jut forward to close the mouth, and the effects are premature aging in appearance.
Each tooth absorbs its portion of the stress impact. When a tooth is missing, neighboring teeth are forced to bear increased pressure. This pressure often leads to cracking or breaking and will eventually alter the normal bite pattern. When left untreated by a dentist, periodontal disease is inevitable. This disease can cause the destruction of the jaw bone.
Periodontal disease doesn’t remain isolated in the mouth. It is well-documented as a contributor to coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and strokes by the ADA. People with diabetes and immunocompromised clients are at high risk for systemic complications due to dental infections. Regular visits to a dentist can help to maintain oral hygiene and preserve teeth.