Losing a tooth is a trauma. Even if the loss was pain-free, 9/10 of patients can remember distinct details about the incident. Think about it – do you recall details about losing a tooth that you would typically not pay attention to? Our hygienist, Claranne has made this observation after years of patients sharing about the loss of a tooth or several teeth. The memory of how, why, where and when we lose our teeth sticks with us long after the tooth fairy has come and gone! If you’ve lost teeth and have not replaced them with dental implants, or if you have difficulty applying dentures, it can be tempting to try and eat without them. Over time, you might even become good at it. While this approach may seem convenient, eating without teeth or dentures can be dangerous to the mouth and the rest of your body. Before you or someone you know has their next meal without teeth, consider these health and aging risks that commonly accompany tooth loss! Effects on Your Gums & Jaw When you try to chew without teeth, your gums and jaws have to work extra hard to ensure that food is chewed enough to swallow. Your teeth, gums, and jaw will become worn out and sore from having to work harder to chew, break down and process foods, even with the help of dentures. This can often lead to serious and painful problems like gum infections and TMJ. While you may have a stash of recipes for yummy puddings, smoothies and other soft foods, no one wants to be stuck on a puree-only diet! Soft-diets are typically only intended to be followed for short periods of time, like allowing tissue to heal post-extractions. Without the pressure the jawbone is used to exerting for those who follow a regular diet, the bone becomes weakened over time, making it more susceptible to fractures and other complications. Your jawbone, gums and teeth help define your individual, unique facial features and structure. Unrestored lost teeth and resulting bone loss, can alter your appearance and speech, diminish self-confidence, affect your diet, harm your health and impair your social, personal and professional life. Tooth Loss, Bone Loss and Aging – OH MY! Whether a tooth is lost due to infection or injury, the bone in that area is no longer stimulated without natural chewing forces and begins to shrink almost immediately. Significant bone loss occurs within the first year, which is why tooth replacement should not be postponed. Bone deterioration does not stop at the area underneath the missing tooth; it can progress to the bone under healthy teeth, creating further tooth loss. This is exactly how the loss of one or two teeth can negatively impact your appearance and accelerate the aging process. Since the facial changes occur gradually, you may not notice them right away, but the skin around your jaw and chin will likely start to sag and your cheeks may become sunken. Tooth loss can age you 10 years or more! Don’t wait for these negative signs to make their mark on your face and health. By focusing on prevention and working with your Dentalways doctor and hygienist, you can prevent these damaging effects of gum disease, decay and bone loss. If you have missing teeth in need of replacement, let our Dentalways team work with you to find the best solutions! Prevention = Preservation Prevention is the key to avoiding the nightmare of unnecessary tooth loss and the damage it can do to your health, emotional well-being and appearance. If prevention is no longer an option for you, one replacement option is dental implant restorations. Dental implants actually stimulate the bone, similar to the way a natural tooth would. This preserves the bone, and, in turn preserves your facial structure and features. We all want to keep our youthfulness as long as possible, right? And don’t forget about the irreplaceable enjoyment of your favorite foods and smiling with confidence in family photos. Don’t let tooth loss interrupt these moments that you deserve to enjoy. Dental implants are capable of restoring these qualities that tooth and bone loss can take from you. We at Dentalways want you and your families to have happy, healthy and beautiful smiles that beam with confidence. A smile is the most important thing you can wear. We would love to help care for, and restore yours. Give us a call at 501-753-7366 or fill out our Request An Appointment online.