Skip to content

5 Things That Can Happen to Your Smile When You Neglect Your Oral Health

Posted in Oral Health

4 minute read

There are many circumstances that lead to poor oral health. Fear of the dentist, illness, medications, mobility problems, and more can sometimes make adequate brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits challenging.

Pretty girl holds a drawing up in front of her face with a sad mouth and missing teeth.

If you’re not taking proper care of your teeth and gums, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, without making some changes, you will inevitably face the following decline in oral health:

1. Plaque & Tartar Build-Up

Plaque accumulates quickly and hardens into tartar if not removed within 24 hours (by brushing and flossing). Tartar will stay on teeth until removed during a professional dental cleaning, but the resulting discoloration often requires treatment with professional teeth whitening, dental composite bonding,  or porcelain veneers to correct.

Tartar is packed with bacteria and helps trap developing bacteria close to the surface of teeth and gums, causing tooth decay and gum disease to progress.

2. Tooth Decay

Tooth decay can usually be treated easily with a dental filling when detected during a regularly scheduled dentist visit. Still, if not addressed in time, tooth decay can progress past the enamel, deep into the dentin and roots of teeth, where simple fillings are no longer an option.

When tooth decay has spread close to the tooth root, a treatment called root canal therapy (RTC) is needed, or the tooth may need to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant.

3. Gum Disease

While you may have to undergo more invasive treatments to save your teeth, your gums also become weaker due to worsening disease that causes swelling, bleeding, gum recession, and painful cracks. If allowed to progress, gum disease begins rapidly reducing gum tissue and threatening the stability of your teeth.

With proper home oral hygiene and regular dental visits, if you develop gingivitis (the common form of early gum disease), your dentist can treat it and prevent its progression.

4. Gum and Bone Loss

Your teeth, gums, and jawbone all work together to make your smile beautiful and functional. The teeth are supported by the soft and hard tissue of your gums and jaw, while the stimulation provided by your tooth roots keeps the bone healthy.

Periodontitis (the severe form of gum disease) jeopardizes the health of your jaw, gums, and teeth. Fortunately, if treated promptly with surgical and regenerative treatments, gum tissue can be restored, meaning that some (if not most) teeth may be saved.

In late-stage gum disease, the destruction of gum and underlying bone leads to significant tooth loss. These teeth can be replaced with several dental implants only after the gums and jawbone have received supportive treatment.

5. Facial Disfigurement

When gum disease goes untreated for too long, the jawbone shrinks, and facial features become distorted. You may have noticed the narrow or thin appearance of the jaw or chin in those who have worn dentures for a long time.

These facial changes are due to the process of jawbone resorption. This condition is created by a lack of stimulation received by the bone from damaged or missing tooth roots.

Anyone who has lost more than one tooth, regardless of the cause, should seriously consider replacing them with dental implants, as these restorations act as tooth root replacements to stimulate the jaw and prevent resorption.

Next Steps

If fear of the dentist and anxiety are keeping you from properly caring for your teeth and gums, you may find help by visiting a sedation dentist.

Ask what your teeth and gums need to stay healthy, and once they are, if your teeth have suffered any visible damage or are discolored, a cosmetic dentist can repair and brighten them.

Even if you’ve already lost most of your teeth, investing in dental implants can restore your smile’s beauty, prevent permanent disfigurement, restore function, and allow you to enjoy your favorite foods.

Cosmetic Dentistry and Dental Implants in Beverly Hills, CA

Dr. Kevin Sands provides the highest level of cosmetic dental care in Beverly Hills, California, including sedation dentistry. You may know him as the cosmetic dentist to the stars, but his real passion is building long-lasting dental relationships in Beverly Hills, one smile at a time.

If you want to improve the look of your smile, call Dr. Sands at (310) 273-0111.