Have you ever thought that a missing tooth may not be such a big deal as long as it’s not visible and nothing bad is happening? You may reason the cost, pain or time may not be worth replacing it. But what many people don’t know is that having one or more missing teeth can cause major problems to your oral and medical health in the long term.
Each tooth is essential to the proper alignment of the bite. All present teeth support one another from shifting as well as the gums and the jawbone. When a tooth is lost and is not replaced with a dental implant or bridge, it causes the teeth next to it to shift and tilt into the empty space. As a result, all other teeth will begin to shift into available spaces. The teeth above or below a gap can also start growing downward (or upward) since they have nothing to chew against and can loosen and eventually fall out. With missing teeth, all remaining teeth will be more susceptible to decay and gum disease. A domino effect occurs that can lead to TMJ with pain and headaches being a common side effect.
Present teeth help support the jawbone by applying pressure when food is being chewed. This provides a stimulus to the bone cells and keeps the bone cells from dissolving. When a tooth root is absent, the bone cells begin to die off. If several or all teeth are missing, the entire jawbone deteriorates and dramatically affects the appearance of the face. This really makes someone look much older than they really are. If you decide get a dental implant at a later time, a bone graft may need to be done to hold the implant since some of the bone may have already dissolved.
The problems from having missing teeth occur very slowly making it difficult to notice whether any change or damage is occurring. Bone loss from one missing tooth can be seen through an X-Ray. Make an appointment as soon as you can to avoid future problems and treat any missing teeth.