For many people, a missing tooth is solely a cosmetic consideration. But choosing not to replace a missing tooth is a huge mistake. A missing tooth can become a significant problem.
Every tooth in your mouth plays a crucial role in your overall dental health. The loss of a back tooth, for instance, can hinder one’s ability to chew, but that missing tooth’s absence can actually cause even more substantial problems.
A missing tooth allows the other teeth to move out of place. So, ironically, those who assume that a missing molar won’t affect their smile can be mistaken.
It’s a little counterintuitive, but a missing tooth also results in more difficulty brushing and flossing around that area of the mouth. And when this toothless part of the mouth isn’t properly cleaned, gum disease sets in, leading to tooth decay and additional tooth loss.
This phenomenon could be one reason why there seems to be a momentum to tooth loss. Once a person loses one tooth, more losses tend to follow, unless the initial missing tooth is replaced.
The most important reason a missing tooth should be replaced is to prevent 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.
Bone needs stimulation to maintain its form and density, so without a tooth in that area, the bone 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.
Without question, the best tooth is a healthy, natural tooth. It’s like your grandma’s old adage about “an ounce of prevention…” It behooves us all to brush our teeth twice a day, floss once daily, eat a balanced diet and attend regular dental exams and cleanings.
But if you find yourself in a situation where you have one or more missing teeth, your friends here at Smiles Dental encourage you to explore the option of dental implants, which are substitute or replacement tooth roots that provide a stable foundation for a replacement crown.
Dental implants are the treatment that comes closest to imitating the function and stability of your natural teeth. 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.