Risks Of Not Replacing A Missing Tooth

When a tooth is missing in your mouth, you may not understand all the consequences this could cause. You may realize that it looks bad, which may cause embarrassment, but did you know that it could actually cause you to lose another tooth? Luckily, there are ways to replace missing teeth, and you can choose the option that you prefer.

How Can A Missing Tooth Cause You To Lose Another Tooth?

If you are missing one of your lower molar teeth, there is likely a molar tooth above it. This upper tooth is securely attached to your gums and jaw; however, it relies on the lower tooth to hold it in place. Without having a tooth below it, this upper tooth may eventually work its way out of its socket from a process known as supereruption. The same principle is true if you are missing an upper tooth, but have the lower one below it.

If one of your teeth supererupts, you will need additional dental work, which will normally involve removing the supererupted tooth. You will then be left with two missing teeth that you will need to replace.

What Other Problems Can Happen?

Missing a tooth can also lead to other problems, including uneven chewing. It isn't easy to eat when a tooth is gone, which often causes people to chew on the opposite side of their mouth.  This may seem like no big deal; however, it can lead to:

  • Higher chance of decay on the side you use for chewing
  • Jaw problems from always using one side of your mouth, including developing a condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder, which can cause headaches, toothaches, and pain when you try to speak, eat, or open your mouth wide.
  • Bone loss on the side where your teeth are missing

In addition, you may also experience sagging of the face because your cheeks rely on your teeth for support. These are all risks you take when you do not replace a tooth that is missing in your mouth, but there are ways to fix this problem.

How Can These Issues Be Fixed and Prevented?

If you would like to prevent any further problems with your teeth and mouth, talk to your dentist about tooth replacement options. He or she is likely to recommend one of the following options after completing an examination of your teeth:

  • Partial dentures – This option is generally recommended only when there are several teeth that need to be replaced. Full dentures are great if you are missing all or most of your teeth. Both types of dentures are usually removable, which makes it easier to clean them.
  • Bridge – A bridge is a device that is permanently placed in a person's mouth to replace one or more missing teeth. It is held in place with crowns that are placed on existing, healthy teeth, and it holds artificial teeth where teeth are missing.
  • Dental implants – Of all the options available, dental implants are among the best because they are permanent tooth replacements. According to WebMD, dental implants can last a lifetime if they are cared for properly.

Dental implants are permanent because they are actually fused to your jawbone. They are made of an implant (which is fused into the bone), a titanium post, and a dental crown. They feel natural and work well for chewing.

If you would like to avoid the problems this issue can create, then you should make an appointment with a dentist. This is a great way to learn more about preventative dental services as well as options for tooth replacement. You can also read more about your tooth replacement options by following the link in this sentence.