Understanding Loss of Function and Treatment Options
Teeth are the most prominent feature of a smile, but they also serve a variety of functions that go beyond making us look good (or bad) in photographs. Most importantly, teeth help us chew foods and speak clearly.
When teeth or jawbone issues lead to a loss of function, it can devastate both oral and general health, leading to complications with digestion, weight maintenance, and other issues.
How Loss of Function Affects Your Health
Loss of function is a slow-forming disorder. At first, you might just notice that your bite seems off. As you run your tongue along your teeth, you might also notice that some of the biting surfaces seem to be excessively worn. To compensate, you may favor chewing on one side of the mouth, or even chewing less.
Recently, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study that found the more an individual is able to chew foods, the more nutrients the digestive tract is able to absorb. The study also noted that the act of chewing released a hormone which made the individual feel more full (satiated).
Chewing is more important than most realize.
The act of chewing not only helps to swallow foods more easily, but it also helps activate the enzymes in your saliva, which in turn kickstarts the digestive process. When a patient loses the ability to chew foods thoroughly, two seeming disparate conditions may result: weight gain and malnutrition.
By losing the ability to thoroughly chew foods, the intestines absorb less nutrients. A person with loss of function often senses (correctly) that they are not receiving enough nutrients. Therefore, they will eat more and snack more often, leading to weight gain.
What Causes Loss of Function?
There are numerous dental conditions that can lead to loss of function, most common of which is tooth loss (edentulism), especially in the molar region. The molars have a prime role in chewing (mastication). Molars are usually the first teeth to be lost since molars receive the most wear and tear. Also, the location and deep grooves of molars make them difficult to clean, a fact that also contributes to tooth loss.
There are other conditions beyond tooth loss that can lead to a loss of function. These include:
- Collapsed bite (VDO loss)
- Misaligned bite (malocclusion)
- Resorption of jawbone
- Excessive tooth eruption
The Roadmap to Restoring Dental Function
If you are suffering from tooth loss, jawbone resorption, periodontal disease, collapsed bite, or another condition that is affecting your speech or how you chew food, CG Smile is here to help. Through a comprehensive evaluation and consultation, we can review your oral health and make recommendations to restore the function and appearance of your teeth. Call us today.
Is Crowding Cramping Your Smile?
If dental crowding is making it difficult to brush or floss, or it is diminishing the appearance of your smile, you should know that you have options.
Replacing an Extracted or Missing Tooth
Thanks to modern dentistry, if you do have a missing tooth there are a variety of options when it comes time to replace it. Some standard tooth replacement procedures include: