When a tooth falls out or needs extraction, you may try to ignore the gap that’s left. After all, replacing a tooth isn’t exactly where you’d allocate your financial and emotional resources. But ignoring a missing tooth could lead to complications beyond the gap in your smile.
Only 2% of adults aged 20-64 in the United States are missing all of their teeth, but on average, that age group only has 25.5 teeth. Even accounting for wisdom-tooth extraction, a healthy adult should have at least 28 teeth.
After losing a tooth, you’re at increased risk of losing others. That’s why our expert dentist Nisha Modi, DMD, at Miracle Smile Dental, encourages you to replace a missing tooth or teeth as soon as possible. She’s happy to answer all your questions about the best tooth-replacement methods at her Aubrey, Texas, office.
Do you have a missing tooth? Here’s why you need to replace it instead of hoping that nobody notices.
One of the worst problems with a missing tooth is how it immediately changes the way you look. When you have a gap in one or both arches, you may feel embarrassed to smile. Not smiling can change your mood and alter how others perceive you.
Unfortunately, embarrassment and self-consciousness are just the tip of the iceberg. The problem with missing teeth is that they put the rest of your teeth at risk of falling out or developing alignment problems. A missing tooth can even affect your overall health.
When your teeth are well aligned, they support one another so that each maintains its position. If there’s a gap in an arch, the other teeth start moving toward the empty space. The teeth that surround that gap may twist or fall inward. Without their supporting tooth, they may begin to weaken and fall out.
A missing tooth can even affect teeth on the other side of your arch. Sometimes they start to grow toward the gap, a condition known as super eruption.
Over time, the shifting of the teeth can completely change the alignment of your teeth and your bite. You may then not only need a tooth replacement but have to straighten the rest of your teeth. Also, if you don’t replace your teeth quickly, the gap may shrink, making it difficult to restore your smile.
Have you ever seen someone who’s lost all of their teeth? Even with dentures, their lower face looks shorter than normal.
When you chew with all of your teeth, they create pressure on your jawbone that simulates the production of new bone cells. Old bone cells in your jaw naturally die and are absorbed by your body. But if you’re not producing new bone cells, it atrophies.
Unfortunately, not every type of tooth replacement preserves your jawbone. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement containing an artificial root that extends deep into your jawbone to keep it stimulated and produce new bone cells.
When you have a gap in your gums, your entire body is exposed to oral bacteria and is at risk for infection. Your mouth is always filled with bacteria, especially after you eat. That’s why it’s best to brush your teeth shortly after eating: It removes the sticky biofilm called plaque, made up of bacteria, sugars, and proteins.
When you can’t remove the biofilm from a hole in your gums, the bacteria can seep into the gap and may eventually infect your gums and jawbone. The infection can then enter your bloodstream, putting you at risk for a dangerous condition called sepsis.
Any dental replacement system can protect your gums from infection, including dentures, crowns, and bridges. If you can’t afford implants, you might start with a bridge to close the gap and protect your gums and body from bacteria.
Taking care of a missing tooth now can save you from dangerous and expensive complications later. It also restores your smile and your confidence.
If you’re missing a tooth, contact our expert team at Miracle Smile Dental to recommend the best replacement method. Call us at 469-765-3567 or use our convenient online booking tool to make an appointment.