Losing a tooth is more common than you may think, particularly as part of aging. Harvard Medical School research indicates that the average American 50 year-old has already lost 12 permanent teeth. These losses can occur because of injury, gum disease, tooth decay or other conditions. If you have recently lost a tooth, you probably wonder if you need to replace it. So, what happens if you don’t replace a missing tooth?
There are many reasons why you should replace a missing tooth. First, your self-confidence is closely tied to your appearance. But it is also important to replace your tooth to maintain good oral health. You need each of your teeth in place for a proper bite, too.
Below, we explore the most important reasons for replacing your lost tooth. If you have questions about your need to replace a missing tooth or need more information about dental implants, schedule a visit with your dentist at Carolina Dental Arts in Goldsboro or Raleigh, NC.
Losing a tooth leaves your surrounding teeth vulnerable to shifting out of their ideal position, becoming crooked or developing new gaps. Because there is a space, your missing tooth no longer helps your remaining teeth stay aligned.
Super-eruption is another problem dentists commonly see in patients who do not replace a missing tooth. This is the growth of remaining teeth on the opposing jaw to the point that these teeth grow out of position and downward or upward into the gap. The elongation can lead to sensitivity and exposure of the roots beyond the gumline.
Dental implants, dentures or a dental bridge can prevent super-eruption and other problems caused when you don’t replace a missing tooth. Your dentist will help you choose the right option for your comfort, specific dental needs and lifestyle.
Our teeth exist to help us bite and chew our food. They function together as one group as much as they do individually. When you have well-aligned teeth, your biting and chewing come easily. But if you have missing teeth, the stress of these activities affect surrounding teeth, other oral structures and digestion. At the very least, it is not fun to have to avoid your favorite foods because you cannot chew them.
Obviously, being able to bite and chew comfortably is an important aspect of your lifestyle and health. This is just another reason why you should consult your dentist about options to replace a missing tooth.
Your bite, also called occlusion, is the manner in which your teeth come together. This alignment of upper and lower teeth is important for maintaining good oral health. The role of occlusion is the reason why so many of us go through orthodontic treatment as children or young adults.
If you do not replace a missing tooth, your bite changes. It becomes off-balance. But you can regain a balanced bite by replacing your tooth with a dental implant, denture or bridge.
Your smile is very important in how you feel about yourself. When you are missing a tooth, you are more likely to feel embarrassed or self-conscious. It is possible you will not speak as clearly, too. When you replace a missing tooth, you feel an instant boost to your self-confidence and find it easier to enunciate and communicate.
Your teeth play an active role in your jaw bone health. When you do not replace a missing tooth, that area of your jaw bone is left unstimulated. As a result, the bone weakens. This affects remaining teeth as the bone loses its ability to hold them in place. It also affects the shape of your face, often leading to a sunken or aged appearance.
A dental implant to replace a missing tooth actually stimulates your jaw bone just like a natural tooth. This helps you maintain better jaw health and facial structure.
Options to Replace a Missing Tooth
As you can see from the examples above, there are many reasons to replace a missing tooth. The best option for doing so is a dental implant, particularly for back molars that require a lot of chewing power. Dental implants are permanent replacements for missing teeth. They feel and look natural, just as they protect your oral health and restore quality of life.
If you are about to undergo tooth extraction or already have missing teeth, talk to your Carolina Dental Arts dentist about your options to replace a missing tooth. With three locations, two dental offices in Raleigh, NC, and one dentist office in Goldsboro, North Carolina, we make seeing a dentist convenient. Schedule your next visit today.