How Tooth Loss Affects Your Facial Appearance

elderly confident smileWith one or more teeth missing, your smile won’t look the same. With your mouth closed, however, the loss might not affect your facial appearance. At least, not at first. When ignored, missing teeth affect more than your immediate smile; the loss can also cause your jawbone to lose density, or deteriorate, from a lack of stimulation. Over time, jawbone deterioration will become more apparent as the structures surrounding your smile begin to sag—a condition known as facial collapse. While replacing lost teeth with a dental bridge, partial, or full denture can restore your smile’s appearance, the traditional dental prostheses only replace the tops of your teeth, and can’t stem the destruction that occurs within your jawbone.

What Happens When You Lose Teeth?

The crowns of your teeth are the visible parts that rest above the gum line, and are what make up the ranks of your smile. Still, a crown is only half of a tooth; the root, which extends underneath the gum line, is embedded in your underlying jawbone. When you bite and chew your food, the roots of your teeth are stimulated by the pressure, telling your body to send your jawbone minerals and nutrients to support them. Losing a tooth means losing a root, as well as the stimulation it provides, and your body responds by sending its nutrients elsewhere.

You Can Stop Facial Collapse

The more teeth you’ve lost, the faster facial collapse can develop. Patients who’ve lost all of their teeth on one or both of their dental ridges often rely on dentures to restore their mouth’s beauty and function. Many of them are also familiar with the need to replace dentures that no longer fit due to a shrinking dental ridge. To prevent facial collapse and better stabilize your replacement teeth, Dr. Stewart may recommend one or more dental implants, which are surgically inserted into your jawbone. Dental implants are made from biocompatible titanium, allowing your jawbone to fuse to their surfaces and restore the stimulation that was lost with your missing teeth’s roots.

About Your Livonia Dentist:

James Steward, DDS, and our compassionate staff proudly serve patients of all ages from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment, call our office today at (734) 425-4400.