You might think that as long as nobody else can see you’re missing a tooth in the back of your mouth, there’s no need to replace it. You might also think that replacing missing teeth is purely a cosmetic issue. However, the truth is that if you don’t replace a missing tooth, you’re setting yourself up for a number of oral health problems.
Gary F. Alder, DDS, and Irene Skirius, DDS, of Global Facial Aesthetics in River Forest, Illinois explain why you should never ignore a missing tooth and what you can do to replace it.
A missing tooth means a risk of crooked teeth
This is not just a cosmetic concern. Just one missing tooth in your mouth creates room for the surrounding teeth to move. Over time, your healthy teeth shift out of place and become crooked.
Crooked teeth are harder to keep clean and free from the bacteria that cause plaque buildup and tooth decay. Brushing and flossing teeth that are in proper alignment makes it easier for you to keep your whole mouth clean and therefore prevent cavities and gum disease.
Ignoring a missing tooth means risk of gum disease
When you can’t brush and floss easily, your risk of tooth decay and gum disease increases. When plaque forms along your gum line, you can get the early stages of gum disease or gingivitis.
If gingivitis goes untreated, you can end up with periodontal disease, a more advanced form of gum disease. When you have periodontal disease, your gums recede from your teeth and you risk infection and losing more teeth.
Bone loss and facial changes will eventually occur
Not replacing a missing tooth eventually leads to changes in your facial structure and bone loss in your jaw. Your teeth support a healthy jawbone, so when there’s a space where a tooth once was, that area of your jawbone is no longer stimulated by the tooth, and the bone begins to deteriorate. When this happens, not only is your bone integrity at risk, but the skin on your face and your lips may sink inward, making you appear older.
Missing teeth make it hard to talk and eat
Even before your teeth begin to shift into empty spaces in your mouth, if you have one or more teeth missing, it’s harder to speak naturally and eat all the foods you love. You may find that the food you do eat gets stuck in the gaps in your mouth, and you have a hard time forming some words, as many sounds are produced by the tongue touching the teeth.
As teeth shift out of alignment, your bite pattern also changes, so it’s harder to chew. In addition, a misaligned bite can lead to wear-and-tear on your teeth since the upper and lower teeth no longer connect as precisely as they should.
Missing teeth affect your self-confidence
Ignoring a missing tooth can have emotional consequences, too. You may feel less confident about your teeth every time you talk, smile, or laugh. This can affect your professional well-being, inhibit your social interactions, and cause you to avoid certain situations.
Consider your options for replacing missing teeth
Since your oral health is our priority, we offer numerous options for replacing one or more missing teeth.
The experienced dental team at Global Facial Aesthetics custom design a dental implant for each of your missing teeth. Implants are individual prosthetic teeth that consist of a root and a tooth. The root is made of titanium and the tooth is a porcelain crown that looks and functions just like your natural tooth.
Implants are the next best thing to your own teeth and are a great replacement option. We offer several different types of implants, including All-on-4® implants.
Crowns and bridges
A crown is the visible portion of a dental implant, but a crown can also be used with a bridge. A bridge is a prosthetic oral appliance that typically consists of two crowns with an artificial tooth or teeth in between. Crowns and bridges can replace one tooth or several.
There are different types of bridges based on your individual needs. Some bridges become a permanent part of your mouth, while some are removable. Both types replace missing teeth and make it easier for you to talk and eat.
Implants, crowns, and bridges can help restore your mouth so you can maintain your best oral health. They can prevent your teeth from shifting, prevent tooth decay and gum disease, and enhance the aesthetic value of your smile.
If you’ve thought about ignoring a missing tooth, consider the consequences. It’s easier than you think to get a customized replacement tooth that helps keep your smile healthy and beautiful.
To learn more about replacing missing teeth and all of your oral health care needs, contact Global Facial Aesthetics by phone or using the online booking tool.