If you're an adult in your 20s, 30s, or even 40s who can't chew solid meat and hard vegetables because of missing teeth, keep reading. Your inability to chew different types of food can cause problems with your jaws over time. Missing teeth may also lead to obesity in some individuals because they may choose the wrong types of food to eat. A dentist can replace your missing back teeth with dental implants. Here's how your inability to chew affects your health and what you can do to overcome your problems.
Why Is Chewing Important?
Chewing problems are often associated with the elderly, but younger adults can also experience difficulties with eating if they have missing teeth. Teeth not only keep your smile healthy, but they also stimulate your jawbones to stay functional and strong. Without your teeth, your jaws can decrease in size and lose thickness.
Each tooth sits inside its own bony tooth socket. When you chew, the roots of your teeth press down on the bone tissue below them, which triggers the stimulation process. The sockets of missing teeth can close up over time. In addition, the bone inside the sockets reabsorbs back into your jaws. Certain areas of your face may appear smaller or sunken because of the lack of bone structure in your jaws.
The teeth adjacent, or close to, your missing teeth can also shift or move into the empty sockets in an attempt to fill in the spaces. If this happens, your jawbones might weaken or move out of placement. Your jaws can hurt when you bite down on food or try to chew it. If you develop a problem called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), it can potentially cause further tooth loss. TMJ places additional stress on the teeth you have left.
Some people gain excess weight when they lose teeth. These individuals may choose foods they can swallow or mash easily with their gums, such as mashed potatoes, soft breads, and flavored yogurts. Certain types of yogurt contain high amounts of sugar, which can add up if you consume a lot of them.
You can avoid the critical issues above by replacing your missing teeth.
How Do You Replace Your Lost Teeth?
There are a number of ways to replace your lost teeth, including dental implant surgery. There are different types of implants that can potentially work for you, including endosteal and subperiosteal. Endosteal implants are biocompatible metal posts that look similar to natural teeth roots. The implants fit inside the bony tooth sockets (jawbone) for security and stability. Endosteal implants work well for you if you haven't lost significant bone tissue in your jaws.
Subperiosteal implants are very different from endosteal implants in how they fit. These types of implants aren't typical posts but frames that fit over or on the jawbones. If you have lost bone tissue and don't wish to rebuild up, subperiosteal implants may be right for you.
A dental provider will generally perform a detailed assessment of your jaws to see if you qualify for endosteal or subperiosteal implants. A dentist may use X-rays to measure your jawbone height to see if you lost too much bone tissue. The images may also reveal problems in your empty tooth sockets and jaws that require immediate treatment, such as infection and inflammation.
The placement time can vary for each type of implant treatment. A dentist will go over what you may expect in greater detail during your exam. However, single endosteal implant placements can occur over a course of 5 to 12 months. A provider can place one implant at a time, or they can do several at once.
For more details about dental implant surgery or the process, contact a dentist near you at a clinic like Valley Oak Dental Group Inc.