You might think that a missing tooth is solely a cosmetic consideration. Many people believe this falsehood, so if they lose a tooth that’s not prominently visible in their “smile zone,” they may never get it replaced.
Choosing not to replace a missing tooth is a huge mistake. A missing tooth can eventually lead to serious problems. Here’s why: Each individual tooth in your mouth plays an important role in your overall dental health.
For instance, the loss of a back tooth can hinder one’s ability to chew, but that missing tooth’s absence can cause even greater problems. A missing tooth allows the other teeth to shift out of place. Ironically, people who suppose that a missing back tooth won’t affect their smile can be sorely mistaken.
And though you wouldn’t expect such a phenomenon, a missing tooth also results in more difficulty brushing and flossing around that area of the mouth. (Perhaps this is because people don’t like to accidentally brush their gum tissue.)
When this toothless area in the mouth isn’t properly cleaned, gum disease quickly sets in, leading to tooth decay and additional tooth loss. Maybe that’s why there seems to be a momentum to tooth loss.
One thing’s for sure: Once a person loses one tooth, more losses tend to follow — unless the initial missing tooth is replaced!
The most crucial reason a missing tooth should be replaced is bone loss. The bone structure that lies beneath the gums holds the teeth in place. Once a tooth is gone, the bone that was supporting that particular tooth begins to wear away.
Most people don’t realize that bone needs stimulation to maintain its form and density, so without a tooth in that area, the bone actually begins to break down. This wearing down of bone can cause the teeth surrounding the gap to move inward toward the empty space. Consequently, as mentioned above, one missing tooth can result in several crooked teeth.
If multiple teeth are missing, the bone loss is more significant, and this condition can even lead to an alteration of the facial structure and a change in physical appearance. Worse yet, your ability to chew and even speak could be hindered.
So, if you’re self-conscious about some spaces in your smile — or perhaps your dentures make you nervous because they don’t feel secure — then dental implants are a strong and stable solution for replacing missing teeth.