Losing a tooth can affect the way you speak, chew and smile. Even the loss of a back tooth may cause your mouth to shift and your face to look older.
Imagine losing your front tooth because of an injury. Do you see yourself still going to work or school the following day? Or would you rather stay at home until you get an immediate replacement?
Losing a tooth is never seen as a disability, but experts at Newcastle University in the UK were astounded by the impact tooth loss had on people. Thirty nine men and women who had experienced tooth loss and replacement from the North East of England participated in the study. The study published in the journal Sociology of Health and Illness found that participants were devastated by their tooth loss. Some compared it to losing an arm or leg, others reported that they avoided leaving their homes.
It’s devastating when you break a tooth off, when that front one went, it was like losing one of the children. Honestly. Because I’d always had – I thought there was never a problem with those ones at the front… But no, it is devastating when you lose teeth because it’s part of you. –Larry (65)
I always used to look in the mirror when I cleaned my teeth and go round my teeth like this and when I get to the gap, I go ‘Oh’. I feel sorry for myself actually. Do you understand that? It’s like… I feel like an old lady, suddenly I feel like an old lady. It’s aged me psychologically. Having this tooth missing. –Sandra (60)
One of the researchers, Dr Nikki Rousseau, said: “Tooth loss isn’t usually thought of as an illness or taken as seriously as needing a knee replacement for example. People feel it’s acceptable to make jokes about false teeth, but we may have underestimated the distress that tooth loss causes.”
“Maybe that is something we need to look at and we should start to view tooth loss more like a chronic illness which needs to be treated.”
Losing a tooth can affect the way you speak, chew and smile. Even the loss of a back tooth may cause your mouth to shift and your face to look older. Fortunately, missing teeth can be replaced through dental implants, bridges and dentures.
Talk to your dentist to know which option will work best for you.