Should You Replace That Missing Tooth?
The American College of Prosthodontists estimates that nearly 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. Tooth loss can occur due to gum disease, decay, injury, wear, and cancer. No matter what the reason, losing a tooth is a big deal and deciding whether or not to replace the missing tooth is a challenging decision. Multiple factors such as time, expense, and complexity of the procedure may influence what decisions are made. Today’s edition of the blog will discuss the long term risk and costs associated with neglecting to replace a missing tooth.
What Happens When a Tooth is removed?
Once a tooth is removed from your jaw, bone loss begins to occur. A void is left and the bone that was once around the tooth begins to resorb. Bone resorption causes bone loss around the adjacent teeth and can result in the loosening and loss of those teeth. The adjacent teeth may drift or shift into the open space and create a scenario that makes it harder to replace the missing tooth at a later time. Over time, neglecting to replace missing teeth will cause changes in your facial appearance. As the bone resorbs, your lips may become sunken and asymmetrical.
Speech and Eating
Gaps created by missing teeth may affect your speech (especially front teeth). This can result in limitations speaking ability and clearly pronouncing words. This can create issues at work and social life as communication becomes more difficult.
Eating may also become more difficult because it is uncomfortable to chew certain foods. In addition, it may become impossible to chew hard foods as the number of teeth missing increases. An attempt will likely be made to compensate by focusing chewing on an area where there are no missing teeth. While this seems like a good idea, it will often result in overuse of the compensated teeth and may result in loosening of those teeth or excess wear. Nutritional problems and deficiencies may develop as soft foods are relied upon and hard foods are unable to be adequately chewed.
As mentioned earlier, missing teeth can start to have an effect on your self-esteem. Appearance may change and your speech may be altered. However, if the missing teeth are visible in the smile line, you may start to avoid speaking, smiling, or eating in public or try to shield your mouth when you speak. Losing teeth can affect your job, social life, and relationship status if you’re not longer confident enough to smile or speak up.
Replacing the Missing Teeth
There are various methods by which single or multiple missing teeth may be replaced. Dentures, dental bridges, and dental implants are the main options by which teeth are replaced. Dental implants are by the far the most popular and last the longest. Check out our previous blog on dental implants for more information (https://mygreenwooddentist.com/check-dental-implants/). No matter what option you choose, it is better than failing to close the space left by missing teeth. Please give us a call at 317-535-7141 if you’d like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Johnson or Dr. Long! Thanks for reading!