Tooth loss is an issue that affects many people for a variety of reasons. Whether you’ve had your tooth knocked out due to dental trauma or have experienced tooth loss due to gum disease, the end result is the same — damaged oral health and aesthetics. We know that leaving tooth loss untreated can have disastrous effects for your smile as a whole. Not promptly addressing your tooth loss can lead you to more oral health issues like jawbone loss, tooth migration, and additional loss of remaining teeth. Although the physical effects of tooth loss are fairly obvious, recognizing the emotional impact can be slightly more difficult. Losing a tooth for any reason is typically a difficult experience. Individuals that have experienced tooth loss can feel angry, sad, hopeless, and unconfident. Fortunately, restoration options like dental implants can help with the physical and emotional repercussions of tooth loss. To explain more on this subject, dental implant provider, Dr. Joseph Field shares an in-depth look at the psychological effect of tooth loss for his patients here in Los Altos, CA.
Tooth Loss and Self-Confidence
A smile is one of the defining features of many individuals. Studies show that it is also one of the most memorable characteristics that someone will remember after meeting you. With this considered, it’s easy to understand how tooth loss will change your self-confidence. Your smile and physical appearance are important sources in self-identity. Feelings of insecurity and inadequacy are common in many people that experience tooth loss.
These feelings of low self-confidence will carry into other aspects of a person’s life. An individual’s work life and social life will end up being harmed due to low self-confidence. Whether it’s losing out on a promotion at work or not getting a second date, low self-confidence because of tooth loss will end up translating to other areas of your life.
Social Implications of Tooth Loss
Going along with our last point, part of the reason individual’s experience low self-confidence is because of the social stigma attached to tooth loss. A study from the Academy of General Dentistry found that 86% of the 20,000 dentists surveyed said that social embarrassment is a major problem related to tooth loss. Researchers also found that many of the dentists reported that patients with tooth loss have less social interaction compared to individuals with a complete smile. The social stigma around tooth loss only adds to already low self-confidence. Tooth loss can often be associated with low income, poor hygiene or poor self-care. In reality, tooth loss can occur for a number of contributing reasons not related to any stereotypes of individuals who have experienced tooth loss.
Some of the physical effects of tooth loss such as impaired chewing or speech can also trickle down to have an effect on social interaction. Many patients dealing with tooth loss are reluctant to partake in social gatherings because of discomfort or embarrassment. This can end up impairing a person’s ability to create close friendships or romantic relationships, which will end up affecting their view on their own self-worth.
Emotional Stages of Losing a Tooth
Losing a tooth is a traumatic experience. Some patients have even compared the emotions of tooth loss to the death of a close family member or friend. The emotional stages of tooth loss are actually very similar to any other traumatic situations we may experience in life. Here’s a quick rundown of the stages of grief:
- Denial: Individuals will often try to ignore their tooth loss at first and deny that they are experiencing any problems.
- Anger: During the next stage, the individual will either feel anger toward themselves or other people. Some people will even feel upset with their dentist for not being able to save the tooth.
- Depression: This next emotional stage will affect an individual’s entire life. Their relationships with close friends, family, and even their relationship with themselves will be affected by low self-confidence and depression.
- Acceptance: This is the most important stage for our patients. Accepting that tooth loss has occurred is crucial for taking the next step. Actively looking to restore your smile can improve your oral health, the look of your smile, and self-confidence.
Contact our Office in Los Altos, CA
Don’t let your missing teeth hold you back anymore! Choosing dental implant for your restorative dentistry needs will give you a long-lasting, natural-looking smile. The durability of dental implants will allow you to enjoy a restoration that looks and feels just like your natural teeth. This restoration even has the potential to last years with the proper maintenance. If you’re ready to get started with your dental implant process, contact our office and schedule your consultation!