Losing a tooth is never a good prospect. Traditionally, there isn’t a conversation about the necessity for tooth replacement on front teeth, but for those that are in the back of your moth and not visible there is usually something to discuss. Replacement of a tooth can be expensive and some consider leaving the area without a tooth. We advise against this option – the failure to replace a missing tooth can have physical and mental consequences.
Having a missing tooth can lead to long-term problems inside and outside your mouth.
Over time, the teeth beside the missing tooth area will shift toward each other in an effort to fill in the gap. There are cases where the teeth above or below this space will shift down or up as well. This collapse in your bite is referred to as malocclusion – or improper alignment of the teeth. This malocclusion can cause larger and more serious problems: overbite, crossbite, an excess strain on the jaw, difficulty chewing, and an increased risk for tooth decay. The treatment option for malocclusion is braces.
Missing teeth can sometimes result the incomplete chewing of your food (consciously or unconsciously). This can lead to digestive issues like acid reflux and malnutrition from nutrients not being absorbed properly in the digestive tract. While it may seem like a back molar hidden from view that does not need to be replaced, remember that those teeth are essential for proper chewing and digestion.
Missing teeth can also cause bone loss along the jawline, which leads to a sagging appearance around the mouth because the bone tissue lacks the support of the teeth. This sagging face phenomenon is common among people who wear dentures.
Beyond the physical effects, having a missing tooth can have negative mental consequences in the short and long term. Society casts a negative light on people with missing teeth – commonly depicting the poor and/or unintelligent with missing teeth. The perceptions from pop culture spill over into reality and the stigma presents itself in real life.
As life expectancies continue to rise, you could be living with the stigma and difficulty speaking or eating for decades, even if you lose a tooth at age 50 or 60.
Restoring Your Smile
The most common treatment in order to replace a missing tooth is a dental implant. Implants consist of a titanium post covered by a crown or denture. The process typically takes about three months from start to finish, which includes plenty of time for your mouth to adjust to the implant and heal before the crown or denture is applied. The implant and temporary crown can be applied on the same day, allowing you to return to normal activities while the permanent crown is made.
The end result is a tooth that looks and feels just like the one you lost!
Contact the office to set up a consultation and find out about tooth replacement options if this sounds like the direction you would like to go in with your smile!