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Blog Author: Dr. Aaron Dannegger, D.D.S.

Why Are Teeth Important?

When we consider family dentistry, we all know it is ideal to keep our teeth for a lifetime so that we can chew, speak, and smile comfortably. However, dental disease and accidents happen that can cause one or more teeth to be lost. Although nobody wants that to happen, sometimes it does, and fortunately there are ways to restore and replace the missing teeth.

This article will discuss the reasons why it is important to restore the missing teeth as well as give a brief overview of three options to replace missing teeth. The next three articles in this series will give more details about each of the options available to replace missing teeth.

Teeth are important for a variety of reasons.

The Benefit of Chewing Your Food

Front teeth are designed to bite and tear food while back teeth are designed to grind food. Chewing is the first stage of digestion and it is imperative to have good healthy teeth in order to eat a well-balanced diet. If you are unable to properly, effectively, and comfortably chew it can affect nutrition. Meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and other healthy foods require mastication (chewing) in order for your body to start the breakdown process of those foods so that your body can get the nutrient value out of those foods. If things aren’t chewed properly the breakdown process isn’t as complete and can cause digestion problems or miss the valuable nutrients that the foods hold. In addition, incompletely chewed foods can be a choking hazard. Foods that are softer and more “processed” can be easier to chew but may lack more of the needed nutritional components that are needed for a healthy diet. Processed foods in general also tend to have more preservatives and possibly sugars that are not as healthy as more fresh and natural ingredients.

The Effect of Teeth on Speech

Another important function that is often overlooked is the role of teeth in speaking. Tongue and lip placement and movement is affected by the teeth and is critical to pronunciation of sounds. The “F”, “V”, and “S” sounds are some of the ones that can most noticeably be affected if teeth are missing or malpositioned. Especially with “S” sounds, missing teeth can allow for a whistling or slurring type of effect. As children learn to speak, a healthy dentition is critical to allowing for proper annunciation of sounds and maintaining that for a lifetime is important.

The Importance of Dental Esthetics

Thirdly, teeth are important for esthetics. People look younger and healthier with a full complement of healthy teeth. If teeth are missing, the remaining teeth can shift and move which can cause problems with speaking or chewing. Missing teeth in the posterior can cause cheeks to appear more sunken and not support the face. This can cause people to overclose and affect chin position possibly causing more wrinkles. Missing teeth in the front will give a lack of lip support and for many people the gaps of missing front teeth is unattractive and embarrassing.

What Are My Tooth Replacement Options?

Fortunately, there are a variety of methods to replace a missing tooth or multiple teeth. Three of the most common ways to replace missing teeth are:

Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages. In the subsequent articles of this blog, each of these will be discussed more in depth to explain the pros and cons of each treatment option. Dentistry is not one size fits all, so one treatment may be ideal for you and not so ideal for another patient.

Here at Best Impressions, Dr. Dannegger is able to discuss with you the pros and cons of your treatment plan and explain and show you what the ideal treatment would be for you.

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