3 problems that can be caused by missing teeth
Losing a tooth may not seem like a big deal, but it can become a more serious matter if it is left untreated. People tend to react quickly to replace a missing tooth in the front, but problems caused by missing teeth are more than just cosmetic.
Back teeth are important for chewing, and every tooth is part of an overall structure that relies on teeth remaining intact for strength and support. Just one lost tooth can create problems.
1. Jawbone loss
Our teeth are supported by bones that secure their roots. Nature responds to a lost tooth by allowing the bone that supported it to deteriorate. This is called jawbone atrophy.
Atrophy of the jawbone can cause two problems:
- If you think that at some time in the future you’ll want to have your missing tooth replaced with a dental implant, it may not be possible or could require a bone graft. Implants need jawbone to support them, making dental implant treatment years after teeth are lost more difficult.
- Jawbone loss can also cause a sunken look to the cheeks, making you look older than you really are.
2. Poor oral health
When a gap is left where a tooth used to be, bacteria can gather there. Tooth brushing and flossing can miss this area, and the bacteria left behind can grow, become plaque and eventually harden to tartar. This is how gum disease begins. Bad breath is a side effect that is likely to occur.
Oral hygiene problems are common even in people who have all of their teeth and losing a tooth puts a person at even greater risk of gum disease.
3. Shifting teeth
Think of a building that loses one block of its foundation. The building won’t fall, but the foundation is weakened and can begin to shift. The same thing happens when a tooth is lost.
Many people with straight teeth in youth experience a shifting of their teeth when they get older. Losing a tooth can start this process. Teeth that have shifted can become misaligned and affect your chewing, putting stress on your jaws. A misaligned bite can lead to TMJ symptoms like painful jaws and headaches.
What’s the best way to replace missing teeth?
Problems caused by missing teeth can be avoided by having them replaced.
- If you are interested in dental implants for permanent replacement, the sooner you act, the more likely it is that implants can be placed without the need for bone grafting.
- Removable dentures and fixed bridges are also sound methods of replacing teeth
If you would like to learn more about the options for replacing teeth and why replacing even one missing tooth is important, schedule a consultation with your Edmonton dentist.
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