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    Missing Teeth and Your Smile—What You Need to Know

    by Saunders DDS on July 14, 2016

    Are you one of the millions of Americans who are missing at least one tooth? Even just one lost tooth can affect your smile more than you think. People can lose teeth because of trauma, but tooth decay and gum disease are also among the most common reasons for losing a tooth—an even better reason to brush, floss, and visit your dentist in Asheville!

    What do you need to know about missing teeth and your smile?

    Tooth Loss Can Change Facial Structure

    When you lose one or more of your natural teeth, the bone in your jaw that supported those teeth is no longer being stimulated. This means that over time, you’ll have less bone in your jaw, which can cause your facial structure to change. The bone needs to be stimulated in order to remain strong and support healthy teeth.

    Your face may have a “shrunken” appearance because the lost teeth will cause bone loss in your jaw.  This can cause your face to appear more aged than it actually is, and can even lead to a hollow-cheeked appearance.

    Missing Teeth Can Cause Other Teeth to Shift

    When a tooth is lost, the space that was being occupied can become an area where other teeth shift.  Adjacent teeth tip into the space or a tooth from the opposing arch will erupt into the space.  This can lead to malpositioned teeth that negatively affect your smile or comfort of your bite.  Often orthodontic treatment is needed before attempting to replace the missing tooth.  This increases treatment time and cost.

    Chewing and Speaking May Become Problematic

    Our teeth not only help us adequately chew our food-—they also help us speak properly.  Speaking can become problematic depending on the location of your missing tooth or teeth.  For example, it can be very difficult to properly enunciate when missing upper front teeth.  Furthermore, many patients become embarrassed about their missing teeth and avoid smiling, laughing and social events.

    What Can You Do?

    Many people have missing teeth as the result of trauma, decay, or gum disease. If you have a missing tooth or teeth, it’s never too late to seek treatment to help your smile be the best it can be! Dental implants are a great option for missing teeth because they stimulate your jaw bone and effectively prevent any bone loss or changes to your facial structure. They’re also extremely sturdy and function (and look) much like your natural teeth.

    You also have the options of dentures, partial dentures, or implant-supported dentures. A bridge could be a great choice for you as well; every patient will be unique. Schedule a consultation so that you know what your options are for getting your gorgeous smile back!

    You don’t have to live with missing teeth—there are affordable options for helping to maintain your appearance as well as the functionality of your smile.  Avoid shifting teeth, changes in your beautiful facial structure, and chewing and speaking problems by exploring options for your missing teeth!

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