Our adult teeth are meant to last us for a long time, as there are no naturally growing replacements. However, missing teeth is a frequently observed phenomenon in adults. According to the ADA, the average adult has at least 5 teeth missing. Missing back teeth can impact our ability to chew and digest food; missing front teeth can affect our ability to speak clearly, and can greatly impact our self-confidence.
The top three reasons for missing teeth are gum disease, dental decay and trauma. Older generations tend to lose teeth due to gum disease or extensive decay, while younger people may be more prone to trauma such as skiing accidents, contact ball sports or high-speed motor vehicle accidents. Some people have genetically missing teeth, which is a condition called hypodontia. Regardless of the reason, a missing front tooth can affect your ability to eat and speak, and negatively impacts on your social confidence. Missing back teeth can result in poor chewing ability and even affect your general digestive health in the long run.
Our ability to replace missing teeth with alternatives that fit firmly is continuously improving through new technology. Dentures are the most common option for those missing all of their teeth. Dental bridges and implants may be recommended for those who are losing one or more of their teeth, fixing synthetic teeth permanently to your jawbone.
When left alone for long enough, the jaw supporting the tooth is lost, which means that replacing it could eventually become impossible. Furthermore, tooth loss can lead to further gum disease and tooth decay. It can also impact the growth of your other teeth, as they can shift into the gap that has been left behind.