When adults lose a tooth, many dismiss it as a mere “cosmetic” issue and resolve not to address it, at least not with any expediency. Take it from the award-winning dentists at New York Smile Institute: replacing a vacant space in your smile is important to your oral health! In this blog, these dentists explain some of the repercussions of ignoring a missing tooth.
Teeth Shift Out of Place
Teeth are known to shift out of place when unconstrained. Fortunately, having all your teeth in a row prevents the teeth from drifting out of position. However, if you lose a tooth, the teeth adjacent to this gap can start moving toward this vacancy. Worse yet, this may cause a domino effect where other teeth shift out of alignment as well. Therefore, the straightness of your teeth is in jeopardy by ignoring a lost tooth.
Downgrading Your Bite
With a missing tooth, it becomes more difficult to chew food. While you may think you can compensate for a gap by restricting your chewing to one side of your mouth, this can wind up causing even more harm. Not only does this interfere with your natural biting motion, it can also trigger other problems like tooth pain, bruxism and migraines.
While you probably know that your jawbone provides support to your teeth, you may not realize that your teeth strengthen your jawbone as well. In fact, your tooth roots help to stimulate bone growth. When a tooth falls out of the mouth, the jawbone in that area slowly begins to deteriorate. The weaker your bone becomes, the higher the likelihood that additional teeth will fall out. A deteriorating jawbone can also give your face a sunken appearance.
Your gums are at their healthiest when they can rest against your teeth. If there is not a tooth for the gums to surround, this tissue becomes thinner and weaker. Unfortunately, this can loosen the other nearby teeth since they need the support of strong gum tissue. Furthermore, if gum tissue recedes, your teeth are more susceptible to infection and sensitivity.
Hesitation Over Smiling
When you know you have a gap in your smile, you may attempt to stifle your smile to avoid showing this flaw when interacting with people. Even if you manage to successfully hide it from your friends and colleagues in the short term, it is certainly easier to replace the tooth than making this a long-term strategy.
Now that you understand the consequences of not replacing a tooth, hopefully you feel motivated to promptly fill in this gap. A dental implant is a great way to replace a missing tooth: it can strengthen your jawbone, improve your bite, prevent teeth shifting and gum recession. You may also be a good candidate for a dental bridge, which uses a device attached to your natural teeth to hold the prosthetic tooth in place. To learn more about these options from one of our dentists, call (212) 319-6363 today.