Should I replace missing teeth in my mouth?
I am sure that many of you are contemplating saving or removing teeth due to various reasons. Also, once teeth are lost, we contemplate replacing it versus leaving the empty spaces alone. It is hard to make a decision not knowing what the effects of missing teeth could be. Below are some of the consequences of missing a tooth/teeth.
Movement of adjacent teeth
Teeth constantly exert pressure on the teeth on either side of them. In this way, all of the teeth in your mouth depend on support from the adjacent teeth to remain in place. When a gap is left by a missing tooth, the surrounding teeth have a tendency to shift because that tooth is no longer helping to keep everything in line.
The opposing teeth also help keep the teeth in a fixed biting plane. A missing tooth can cause the opposing tooth to gradually move towards the now missing tooth. As this continues over time sensitivity can result due to exposure of the sensitive areas of the tooth and food could be packed into the unnatural gaps that develop.
Alteration in the alignment of your bite
Your bite is the way your teeth meet. The teeth are arranged in a direction and are positioned in a way to maximise your chewing potential. A missing tooth eventually leads to changes in your bite. By replacing the tooth before there are any irreversible changes, a balanced bite can be restored.
Changes to your biting and chewing
Properly aligned teeth come together harmoniously when you bite and chew. When you lose a tooth, there is a loss of a chewing/biting unit. Tooth loss can put more strain on the remaining teeth. It may also reduce your chewing ability – Chewing is the first step towards digestion. Inadequate chewing may reduce your body’s ability to absorb the valuable nutrients from the ground down food.
You also may avoid chewing on some of your favourite hard or chewy foods as you may perceive them to be damaging to your remaining teeth.
Food packed between teeth
A missing tooth could cause a movement of teeth resulting in unwanted spaces between them. It is easy for food particles and bacteria to collect inside these spaces. Normal brushing may not reach those areas easily. This will lead to a localised gum infection, which if not attended to may result in a loss of gum tissue, dark space appearing between teeth, the spread of bacteria into the blood stream and in advanced situations- loss of further teeth adjacent to the site.
Gum and jawbone deterioration
Teeth are firmly anchored into the bone which in turn is covered by gums. Our bodies rely on our tooth roots to signal the need for healthy bone tissue in the jaw. Without teeth, these signals could be lost and the body could gradually stop sending vital minerals to the area and also reabsorb parts of the gums and jawbones. This could lead of lack of support of the soft tissues of the face, causing changes to the structure of the face, and the face may look sunken. Ultimately, this can make a person look older than they really are.
The longer a tooth is missing, the more deterioration occurs, hence it becomes vital to look at replacement options as soon as possible.
Your smile can define who you are. Missing tooth/teeth can easily cause you to hold back your true smile. If you’re hiding your smile due to the lack of teeth, it becomes difficult to enjoy your day-to-day life.
Chronic jaw pain
Gaps left by missing teeth alter your bite and alignment as the jaw closes. Losing a back tooth can mean that you begin to favour one side of your mouth when you chew your food. This causes an unbalanced bite, leading to soreness on one side of the jaw, muscle atrophy on the other side, and overall stress on the jaw joint (Temporo-mandibular joint/TMJ) on the side of your face. An imbalanced bite can lead to TMJ disorder, which involves chronic pain in the jaw.
Effects on speech
Many of the sounds we use to pronounce words are created by the lips, tongue and teeth. Loss of teeth could impede the exact pronunciation of some of these sounds.
Your back molars may not be visible when you smile. Although you might be tempted to skip replacing it or contemplating removing it for various reasons, it may not be the best idea! Missing a tooth, even just one, can cause severe and permanent damage to your entire mouth. Of course, every situation is unique and we provide customised recommendations during your consultation.
We also realise that the cost could play a role in your decision making, which is why we can suggest some payment plan options. To arrange your appointment, please contact us at Robina Family Dental Surgery on (07)5578 8227.