If you are missing a tooth, you may be wondering what to do next. Is it really important that you undergo the process of replacing a lost tooth? Or can you simply just live your life as normal minus one tooth? Especially if the tooth is not easily visible when you smile, you may feel that replacing it can be more trouble than it is worth. However, replacing a lost tooth or teeth is important for a variety of reasons, and electing not to replace your lost tooth could result in some serious dental consequences.
One major consequence that could occur as a result of not replacing your lost tooth is a loss of bone mass. Teeth are connected to your jaw bone through roots that stimulate this area of bone. This stimulation keeps the bone healthy. When a tooth is lost, the connection between the root and the jaw bone ceases, and the jaw bone no longer receives adequate stimulation. Without this stimulation, the bone begins to be reabsorbed into the body, meaning that bone density in this area decreases and the jaw bone becomes weakened.
This loss of bone density can cause problems for both your remaining teeth and facial structure. First of all, the teeth immediately surrounding the missing teeth are now at a much higher risk of being lost themselves, because their surrounding bone mass is weakened and may not be able to support them. Secondly, loss of bone mass also means that facial soft tissues have reduced support since the bone is weak. As a result, your facial structure could potentially become sunken or asymmetrical.
In addition to losing bone mass, a lost tooth that is not replaced can also cause issues with the function and alignment of the mouth. In the simplest terms, a lost tooth could make eating more difficult. Even if it doesn’t seem too difficult to eat with only one missing tooth, chewing with a missing tooth means you will be indirectly applying excess pressure on the surrounding teeth. This extra pressure could cause toothaches, tooth trauma, and premature wear. This is the best case scenario.
When a tooth is lost and not replaced, eventually your mouth with change in structure and this will have serious consequences on its function. After a tooth is lost, the surrounding teeth will slowly drift into the space left behind, leaving their original location and changing the composition of your mouth. Teeth opposite of a gap can also super erupt, meaning that they will grow longer to fill in the gap. In both cases, the alignment of your bite will change.
If the teeth are improperly aligned when the jaw is closed, this is called Malocclusion. There are various types of malocclusion including: upper protrusion, misplaced midline, open bite, overbite, under bite, cross bite, rotation, or transposition. In addition to reducing functionality, malocclusion can also cause extra strain to be placed on the temporomandibular joint. This could cause chronic headaches, neck aches, ear canal pain and shoulder pain.
There are many options available to patients looking to replace a missing tooth. Don’t wait for your mouth to begin change in shape, book a consultation with Premier Dental of South Orange County today for more information on replacing your lost tooth!