It’s not always easy to tell when you need to replace your teeth. Sometimes the signs are subtle, and other times, they’re more obvious. Sometimes you think you can live with a missing tooth. However, missing teeth can seriously affect your oral health, self-esteem, and ability to chew properly. Additionally, spaces left by missing teeth can cause remaining teeth to shift out of position, leading to problems with biting and chewing.
Here are early signs that you might need to replace your teeth:
You have difficulty chewing or experience pain when chewing: If you have lost some teeth, you might find it difficult to chew certain foods. This is because fewer teeth break down food before it reaches your throat. Additionally, chewing with missing teeth can be painful because the exposed gum tissue is vulnerable to irritation from hard or sticky foods.
Sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks: When teeth are missing, the exposed root surfaces can become sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. This is because the protective enamel layer of your teeth is no longer present. The pain might be difficult to enjoy your favorite foods and drinks.
Tingling or numbness in your mouth: When a tooth is missing, the underlying nerve endings can become exposed. A tingling sensation in your teeth or gums could mean that bacteria has begun to grow on your teeth, causing them to become infected. This can lead to further tooth decay.
You avoid smiling or feel self-conscious about your smile: Many people who miss teeth avoid smiling because they feel self-conscious about their appearance. You may also notice that you’re avoiding social situations where you must smile or talk to people.
You notice a change in the texture of your teeth: Missing teeth can cause the texture of your remaining teeth to become rough. This is because tooth loss causes the jawbone to weaken and recede, resulting in changes in the shape of your mouth and teeth.
You experience a change in the shape of your face: When teeth are missing, the underlying bone begins to dissolve, and the shape of your face can change, making you look older or unhealthy.
Your speech is affected by missing teeth: Missing teeth can also affect your speech. This is because gaps left by missing teeth can cause air to escape when you talk, leading to a whistling sound when you speak certain words.
You have a gap between your teeth: A small gap between two teeth could indicate a filling falling out or an infection in the area.
You have jaw pain or aches in your face and neck: Jaw pain and facial aches are often caused by TMJ disorders, which missing teeth can exacerbate. Additionally, tooth loss can lead to jawbone degeneration, which can cause pain in the jaw joint and muscles surrounding the joint.
What Your Dentist Can Do
If you’re experiencing any of these signs, you must visit your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist can help restore the function and appearance of your smile. Depending on the extent of your tooth loss, they can provide the following options:
Bridges: A bridge consists of one or more artificial teeth held in place by neighboring teeth. This is done by using crowns on the adjacent teeth as anchors for the bridge.
Dentures: Dentures are removable appliance that replaces missing teeth. They can be complete or partial, depending on the number of teeth you miss. Dentures are a less expensive option than dental implants, but they don’t last as long and can be uncomfortable to wear
Dental Implants: Dental implants are artificial titanium roots surgically implanted into your jawbone. This root is then used to support a crown or bridge. Dental implants are often considered the best option for replacing missing teeth. This is because they look and feel like real teeth, can last up to 20 years with proper care, and don’t require as much maintenance as dentures.
What You Can Do
Tooth decay and teeth replacement can be prevented. Taking the following steps will help minimize tooth decay and missing teeth risk.
- Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss daily to remove food particles from between your teeth.
- See your dentist for regular checkups.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Avoid sugary, acidic foods.
- Quit smoking or using other tobacco products
- Drink plenty of water and avoid soda and energy drinks
If you are experiencing any signs of missing teeth, it is important to visit your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist can determine the underlying cause of the issue and provide treatment that will restore the health of your teeth and help you maintain a beautiful smile. If you already have missing teeth, you must visit your dentist to determine the underlying cause and provide treatment that will restore your smile.