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Why it is Important to Replace Missing Teeth?

Missing Teeth

Did you know that more than 120 million Americans have at least one tooth missing in their oral cavity? This is a huge figure! Unfortunately, most of these people will never consider replacing their missing teeth because they don’t realize the importance of having all teeth in a jaw. The fact is that losing even a single tooth can seriously affect your oral and physical health.

This article explains how missing teeth affect your dental health and quality of life, and why you should never delay getting your missing teeth replaced.

  • Movement of the Neighboring Teeth – when a tooth is lost, the neighboring teeth start to creep towards the gap. As a result, spaces begin to form between these teeth, which are not only unaesthetic in appearance, but these gaps also become sites for food impaction and promote teeth cavities in the remaining teeth. As a result, there are higher chances of development of gum and periodontal problems, and it can lead to further tooth loss if the condition is not corrected timely.
  • Problems with Occlusion – another serious consequence of not replacing a missing tooth timely is poor alignment and occlusion of the teeth due to the unnecessary movement of the neighboring and the opposing teeth. Since the upper and lower teeth do not mate properly, it can lead to a serious reduction in chewing efficacy. In addition, problems with occlusion can also lead to localized crowding and gum recession, which can further aggravate the situation by causing root cavities and sensitivity.
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders improper occlusion of the teeth can also result in an uneven distribution of forces during when the teeth come in contact, creating excessive pressure of the temporomandibular joints. If this condition is not corrected timely, it can result in the development of temporomandibular joint disorders such as jaw dislocation and headaches.
  • Bone Loss – when a tooth is lost, the bone surrounding it starts to degrade at a very high rate. This causes the facial bones to shrink prematurely, thereby giving you an older look. Not only this, tooth loss causes the bone to become thin, weak and fragile. Therefore, the higher the number of your missing teeth and the longer you wait to replace them, the higher the chances of spontaneous jawbone fractures.
  • Movement of the Opposing Teeth – when a gap created by a missing tooth exists for a long time, the opposing tooth also start to move into the missing tooth gap. As a result, it’s an attachment with the surrounding bone gradually becomes weaker due to over-eruption and decreased root-socket contact. Due to this, the opposing tooth becomes mobile, and it may ultimately fall off if the missing tooth is not replaced in time.
  • Tooth Replacement and Restoration Becomes Complicated – in addition, due to the over-eruption of the opposing tooth, replacement of the missing tooth becomes very complicated as there very little vertical space available to place the artificial tooth and to ensure optimal occlusion.

Now that we know that failure to replace missing teeth can have serious consequences let’s take a look at the solution. First, you should avoid losing natural teeth in the first place through strict oral hygiene maintenance and regular checkup visits. However, tooth loss may not always be avoidable. In these cases, missing teeth should be replaced as soon as possible. Thanks to modern dentistry, there are several tooth replacement options available nowadays. Visit your dentist today to discuss a tooth replacement option which best suits your dental needs.