Few people love the idea of going to the dentist for extensive (and potentially expensive) work. But neglecting your teeth can lead to much larger problems down the line. If you’re one of the more than 50 percent of Americans who has a missing tooth, it’s time to consider both the short- and long-term consequences of a missing tooth.

Sunrise Dental of Spokane has been helping people get the implants they need to keep their jaw, gums, and mouth as healthy as possible. See why you don’t have to be a beauty contestant or a model to want a full smile.

It Affects Your Chewing

Most people love to eat their favorite foods, whether they’re soft as mush, crunchy as nails, icy cold or boiling hot. But when you lose a tooth, you also lose about 10 percent of your chewing ability. This is more than just annoying; it can make it awkward or even painful to eat.

You may find yourself avoiding certain foods, or only chewing on one side of your face. After a while, you may start to feel your jaw hurt from the extra pressure on one side. If you want to keep your diet relatively similar to what it used to be, it’s time to complete your full set of teeth as soon as possible.

A Magnet for Bacteria

When there’s a space in your mouth, your other teeth will begin to shift over to fill in the space. The rate at which your teeth shift will vary, but you really shouldn’t take the chance. The more vulnerable your mouth is, the more likely it is you’ll deal with the effects of long-term bacteria buildup.

The effects of bacteria spreading throughout your mouth can affect your gums and existing teeth as well. So even if all of your other teeth are in good shape, the bacteria that results from the missing tooth can still cause healthy teeth to rot.

It Changes Your Appearance

A missing tooth can do far more than affect your smile; it can actually affect the look of your entire face. Your tooth is held in place, in part, with a special bone. If there’s no longer a tooth for that bone to support, it will begin to shrink over time. The more it shrinks, the more likely it is that your face will be affected by the change.

A missing tooth can also cause TMJ, a condition in which the upper and lower jaws do not align. This can actually damage the jaw joint, which may cause prolonged pain and additional changes in the profile of your face. Over time, this can also affect the cadence and the quality of your speech, making it difficult for people to understand you.

Taking Charge

While it may be daunting to even think of calling a professional to restore your smile, you really can’t afford to wait. Talking it over with a dentist is the first step you can take toward a better smile.

If you want to learn more about how implants work, give Sunrise Dental of Spokane a call to learn more about our procedures. Your health is our number one concern, but we also do everything possible to preserve and improve your appearance whenever possible.