HOW A MISSING TOOTH CAN PREMATURELY AGE THE FACE
It might feel like the end of the world, or certainly a huge disappointment, when you find out you need a permanent tooth pulled. However, missing teeth are extremely common. In fact, 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. A missing tooth isn’t a problem, as long as it’s replaced as soon as possible.
When a permanent tooth is lost or pulled in a noticeable place such as the side or front of the smile, most people immediately want a replacement such as a dental implant in order to make sure their smile looks full and beautiful again. When a tooth is lost or pulled in an area that can’t be seen easily when smiling or talking, many people skip the replacement to save money or avoid more dental work because they think it doesn’t matter if you can’t see the gap. What they don’t know is that not replacing a missing tooth can actually make facial features begin to age rapidly.
So how does tooth loss cause the face to age prematurely? The tissues of the jaw bone require constant stimulation in order to stay healthy. When a tooth is lost, the jaw bone in that area stops being stimulated. If a tooth isn’t replaced with an implant, the jaw bone will begin to deteriorate and be absorbed due to lack of stimulation. It happens surprisingly quickly, too. Research has shown that up to 25 percent of the jaw bone width in the area of the tooth loss occurs in the first year and continues at a rate of about 4 millimeters of loss a year.
The jaw bone and teeth support the shape of the face, and without that support the face begins to change. The chin begins to rotate forward, and the lips appear thinner and may begin to slope downward in what some refer to as a “trout-like” shape, creating an unhappy or scowling and aged appearance.
Replacing missing teeth has never been easier or more affordable. You don’t have to live with a hole in your smile. Dental implants replace the tooth from the root up, protecting your jaw from bone loss and maintaining support of the face. For more information about dental implants or lost or missing teeth, call us today at Pinnacle Oral Surgery Specialists at (469)264-8921.