What Happens if I Don’t Replace a Missing or Extracted Tooth?
As we age, there are a variety of reasons why we may lose a tooth or require having a tooth extracted. Missing a tooth is extremely common, as the American College of Prosthodontists estimates 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth and about 40 million Americans are missing their entire set of teeth. The dentists at the office of Dr. Christopher J Fotinos have seen cases of missing teeth due to injury, wear and tear, cancer, and periodontal disease.
Many of our patients have asked what negative repercussions can occur by not replacing missing or extracted teeth, so we wanted to explore and address the health concerns that can arise, as well as the different options and benefits of replacing any missing teeth.
Health Issues & Complications That Can Be Caused by Missing Teeth
All of our teeth serve several purposes, such as helping us chew correctly, proper word pronunciation, and even impacting our physical appearance. Showing off your beautiful smile can be ruined by missing frontal teeth, but even lost posterior teeth can misalign the rest of your teeth and jaw bone, causing long term damage and ramifications. These are some of the common negative effects that can happen when teeth aren’t replaced:
- Malocclusion – Occurs when there is a misalignment of the contact of your upper & lower teeth when your jaw closes together. It can manifest as an under bite, overbite, cross bite, open bite, or teeth crowding which can all lead to further broken teeth and tooth loss.
- Super Eruption – Teeth are governed by a balance of forces and when teeth don’t contact properly by opposition from a missing tooth, the bone in your jaw will push the tooth out and cause it to overgrow. Mixed with malocclusion, this will cause overgrown and crooked teeth.
- Bone Loss – Jawbone is protected by the pressure and stimulation of chewing. Without teeth to support the bone, the gums and bone reabsorb into the body causing deterioration. Your cheeks and lips can begin to look sunken in, providing an aged look. After only a year of missing a tooth, 25% of bone is lost and will continue over time.
- Increased Risk of Infection – Not only are the gums of where the missing tooth is prone to gum disease, but also the teeth around it become more susceptible.
What Are Tooth Replacement Options?
There are several options our office offers for one or several missing teeth. Depending on your particular situation, after an examination, our dentists may recommend:
Implants are the most reliable and sturdy option in comparison to other tooth replacement options, and they tend to last much longer. Implants will also have the best functionality when replacing teeth. They are also easy to care for, as just like natural teeth they can be treated with regular brushing and flossing.
To fill the gap for two or more missing teeth next to each other, bridges consist of two or more dental crowns, which are tooth-shaped caps, and a false tooth that is cemented to the surrounding natural teeth.
Partial or Full Dentures
Dentures are false teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic base similar to a retainer. The denture will fit in your mouth snugly and can be removed. Our dental office also offers implant-attached dentures which provide additional support.
Once we assess your current oral health and missing teeth, we can discuss treatment options and help you determine which option will be the best for you. Contact our office today to discuss any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment to replace any missing teeth.