Having one missing tooth might not seem like a big deal, especially if it’s in the back of your mouth, out of sight. However, missing teeth can cause problems that affect your oral health. Find out why you might want to consider having a tooth replaced and what kinds of options are available.
When you have a missing tooth, other teeth around it can shift position. The most common shifts involve teeth erupting out of their sockets when the opposing tooth is lost, and the back teeth tipping forward when there is a tooth lost in the front of it. This can affect your bite and make it more difficult to chew or speak if the shifting is severe enough. In some cases, losing a tooth can compromise the support for the neighbouring teeth. Your jawbone in that area can also start to deteriorate (or “resorb”), since teeth help maintain bone levels, just be being there. Replacing your missing tooth can sometimes help prevent these problems from happening.
Increased Risk of Decay and Gum Disease
Depending on the severity of shifting that occurs, the remaining teeth can be at increased risk of decay and gum disease. Your missing tooth can cause the teeth around it to become misaligned, which makes it harder to clean all of their surfaces. This allows bacteria to thrive and plaque to form more easily on these teeth, increasing your risk of tooth decay. Flossing between misaligned teeth is also more difficult, which increases your risk of gum disease.
Decreased Tooth Function
You need your teeth to chew food and speak clearly. When you have a missing tooth, such as a back molar, you might find it harder to eat certain foods that require a lot of chewing. You might also have more trouble speaking clearly, especially if you are missing multiple front teeth.
Headaches and Jaw Pain
If your teeth end up shifting position due to a missing tooth, the misalignment this causes can lead to headaches or soreness in your jaw. Misaligned teeth change the way your upper and lower jaws move and function, which can cause problems with your jaw muscles and other structures.
Change in Appearance
When you have a few or several missing teeth, this can cause a drastic change in your appearance. Your jawbone can wear away, which gives your face a more sunken appearance that can make you look older.
Tooth Replacement Options
There are different options to consider for tooth replacement. These include dental implants, bridges, and full or partial dentures. Implants are medical devices that get placed into the jawbone and are meant to mimic your own tooth as closely as possible. Bridges are restorations that rely on the teeth next to an empty space to support a replacement tooth. Dentures are a set of false teeth that can be removed from the mouth, and can replace multiple missing teeth.
If you or a loved one has a missing tooth that needs to be replaced, please contact us at Brewery District Dental for an appointment. Our dental team can assess your dental situation and provide you with advice on restoring your dental health. If you need a replacement tooth, we will discuss options with you.