Missing teeth don't just affect your self-esteem and ability to chew properly. Over time, missing teeth can actually cause the entire structure of the lower portion of your face to change. Check out how missing teeth affect your face and what you can do to prevent it.
Teeth Stimulate the Jawbone
Your teeth and jawbone are a partnership. Although the teeth don't directly touch the jawbone, they stimulate it through the periodontal ligament. Each stimulation ensures the jawbone remains dense. Not only does this help prevent tooth loss, but it also keeps your face looking full and healthy.
When you lose a tooth, that portion of jawbone no longer has anything to stimulate it. This causes it to diminish. Think of it like a broken leg. When your leg is broken, you can't use it, so when you finally get the cast removed, you may be shocked to see that your leg muscles have shrunk. It's the same with your jawbone. If you aren't using it, you lose it.
Missing Teeth Cause Your Cheeks to Collapse
When you have most or all of your teeth missing, the first thing you notice is that your cheeks look hollow. At first, it's less noticeable because your jawbone is still firm. However, as your jawbone starts to shrink, the hollow cheeks become more noticeable.
Luckily, there are many ways to correct hollow-looking cheeks. Even getting dentures can be enough to add some volume inside your mouth, pushing your cheeks outward again. Any option to replace missing teeth, such as dentures, dental implants and dentures, can correct hollow cheeks, but there is something else that missing teeth cause that isn't so easy to correct.
Missing Teeth Allow Your Jaw to Rotate
Missing teeth can eventually cause your lower jawbone to rotate. When you lose teeth, the first part of your jawbone to go is the alveolar bone, and once that is completely gone, the jawbone proper soon follows. As the process continues, your chin rotates, making your chin look larger and more dominate. Your chin also gets closer to your nose, making your face look shorter. Again, the severity largely depends on how many teeth you have missing.
If you have a lot of your back teeth missing but still have your front teeth, you can develop bite collapse. Without back teeth, your front teeth are placed under more pressure than they can handle, which forces them to get pushed forward, making it even harder to eat.
Dental Implants Prevent Changes in Your Face's Appearance
Dentures and dental bridges can fix some problems associated with missing teeth, but they can't fix the major structural issues to your jawbone. This is because they sit on top of your gums, so they don't get down the jawbone to stimulate it. They may make your mouth look a little fuller, but they won't stop your jawbone from shrinking and shifting.
Dental implants can stimulate your jawbone. Thanks to a process known as osseointegration, titanium implants fuse to your jawbone, which stimulates it and keeps it dense, so your face maintains its normal appearance. Dental implants are available in single implants, implant-supported bridges and implant-supported dentures, but all options have titanium roots that fit in your jawbone to stimulate it.
Missing teeth aren't just embarrassing; they can affect the entire shape of your face. Dentures and dental bridges can fix many of the problems associated with missing teeth, but the best way to maintain your appearance is to get dental implants. For more information about dental implants, contact a cosmetic dentist in your area today to schedule a consultation.