Psychologic and Other Side Effects of Missing Teeth

Nearly 50% of the adults in United States have missing teeth. As dentists we wonder how come in the richest country in the world, with all the financial and technology resources, we still have a lot of patients losing teeth. The two main clinical factors are gum disease and dental cavities. But still, there are other factors that can be involved like trauma, finances and low value given to teeth. “Instead of treating the tooth, just pull it, Doc. I want to get rid of it”. Some other patients add to that “Pull it now and we’ll put an implant in there later”.

It might seem cheaper to take a tooth out right away instead of treating it with root canal, filling, crown, etc…, but it only seems to be cheaper. First of all, in the long term it is way more expensive to take a tooth out and replace it right away with an implant. The price of an implant is way higher(around double) than the price of saving the tooth. On top of that the patient has to go through one of two surgeries. If the tooth is not replaced right away, there are other side effects involved: shifting and tilting of the neighbour teeth, overeruption(over growth) of the opposing teeth, cavities next to the gums of the neighbour teeth, bite changes, overburdening of the remaining teeth, unbalanced bite, etc…

On top of the clinical and financial aspects of loosing teeth there is another very important aspect: psychologic aspect. It may not seem so obvious after losing one or two teeth, but after a few are lost, “missing teeth syndrome” becomes more apparent, with cracked overwhelmed teeth, chipped teeth, collapsed bite, gaps between the teeth, difficulty in speech, biting, chewing, older facial look, cavities, avoiding smiling, dimminished self confidence and social interaction, partial or complete dentures wear, just to mention some of the effects of losing teeth.

The conclusion is to try to save your teeth before you lose them. Once the tooth is out of your mouth, it cannot go back. Keep them in where they belong and can be used. Way too often patients realize how precious teeth are after they are gone.

If you have any concerns or more questions, please come for a free consultation with me at my office in Washington Township, NJ- Sewell Dental Arts. I will be happy to meet you and answer any questions you may have.