Missing Teeth – What’s the Big Deal?

teethTeeth can be lost through a variety of reasons.  Decay, periodontal disease (bone loss), trauma, infection, and congenital abnormalities may all result in tooth loss.

Society values a nice smile, and  misjudges those without teeth, hence people often hesitate to smile or speak in social settings if their front teeth are missing.  Therefore, most people tend to replace missing front teeth.

But the same value is not put on missing posterior teeth.  Because posterior teeth are not visible, they are often de-valued.   But any missing tooth can have a big impact on a person’s appearance and their health.

posterior teeth drifting useFor starters, when a tooth is missing, the adjacent teeth naturally begin to “drift” toward the gap, moving from their optimal position in order to fill the space. Teeth on the top will often “over-erupt” if the tooth below is missing.  While a tooth that drifts is not a painful process, it can  affect both the appearance of the mouth, and the bite (how your top and bottom teeth fit together).  A misaligned bite can cause problems with chewing and biting and can be the source of significant pain.

face changesAnother problem lies with the deterioration of bone that occurs at the site of the missing tooth.  Your tooth’s root stimulates the bone.  Without this stimulation, your jaw bone can deteriorate and cause facial disfigurement.  As the bone wastes away, the distortion of the face and a hollow appearance around the mouth can occur.  The result of tooth and bone loss can add decades to a person’s appearance.  Losing a tooth can result in a 25% decrease in bone width in just the first year. And this bone loss becomes worse and more apparent as the years go by.

Teeth are an important structure to help pronounce sounds.  When you lose teeth, your speech can become more difficult, and it can be harder for people to understand what you are saying.

Each tooth in your mouth shares the overall workload of chewing and biting.  When this happens, it can lead to premature tooth wear and breakage of the remaining teeth, or even the development of TMJ disorder

There are several options to replace missing teeth.  Join us on our next blog to see the options and the pros and cons of each option.

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