We are lucky to live in an age with many effective options for those with missing teeth. However, it's tempting to many patients to think that not replacing one missing tooth won't have adverse effects. Some risks may not be symptomatic until it's too late and the damage has been done.
The first step in preventing this damage is understanding the risks of missing teeth.
The gums and jawbone are essential to keeping tooth roots in place. However, your teeth help your jawbone too! Tooth roots stimulate these tissues, continually causing the body to repair damaged cells. Without stimulation from a tooth, the bone gradually reabsorbs parts of the jawbone. This accelerates tooth loss but also changes the shape of the face.
Teeth constantly apply pressure by pushing on each other. When one is removed, the teeth are thrown off balance. The remaining teeth begin shifting toward the open space to close it up. This is your body's way of making up for the fact that you have one less tooth in your mouth.
This causes your teeth to become misaligned, leading to issues with the temporomandibular joint. You can prevent this and other problems by making a prosthetic, such as a bridge or partial denture, to keep the remaining teeth in the correct place.
Choosing not to replace a missing tooth increases the bacteria in the gap left behind. An exposed socket makes it easier for pathogens to reach that area. This increases your risk of developing gum disease, the leading cause of adult tooth loss.
At Premier Dental of Ohio, we work with our patients to replace missing teeth with a number of options. Dental implants are a long-term solution that will seamlessly fill the gaps. Depending on where your missing tooth is, a dental bridge may be a solution to strengthen the teeth around the gap. Partial dentures are an affordable solution for replacing missing teeth. Contact one of our Premier Dental locations if you are interested in replacing your missing teeth. We have several replacement options available to help restore your health.