Consequences of Tooth Loss

If you don’t think it’s a big deal to lose a tooth, you’re wrong. Unless you’re 12 and losing your 18th baby tooth isn’t a big deal for you. In particular, losing a permanent tooth is a big deal that can lead to some bad things.

The good news is that all of these bad things can be stopped. Even if you have to have a tooth pulled, you can avoid these problems by getting a dental implant to replace the missing tooth.

Cracked Teeth

The way teeth are made lets them handle a certain amount of force when chewing. On average, our jaws can make 300 psi of pressure, all of which goes straight to the food between our teeth to grind it. This is the first step in digestion, and it’s a very important one. The problem is that when we lose a tooth, the jaws still make the same amount of force, but there are now fewer teeth to take that force. This means that each tooth gets more force than it was made to handle. The teeth next to the missing tooth take the brunt of this increased force.

People often choose to have their second molars pulled because they are the farthest back teeth. The first molar next to it then has a high chance of cracking and needing expensive dental work.

Gum Recession

Like cracked teeth, gum recession usually happens on the teeth next to the one that was pulled. Without a tooth next to it to push the gums up against the side of the neighboring tooth, the gums slowly pull away from the tooth. The gum recession is made worse by the fact that you are biting down harder.

This is a bad thing because it’s hard to replace gum tissue once it’s gone. Even when a dental implant is used to replace a missing tooth, the gums tend to stay where they were before.

Bone Loss

Under the gums that are pulling away, there is bone loss, but that’s not the kind of bone loss we’re talking about here. When you lose a tooth, you naturally lose a small amount of bone. The only job of the jawbone is to hold and protect the teeth. When a tooth is lost, the bone around that spot starts to get smaller.

This shrinkage happens slowly over time, and eventually, it can make it impossible to use a dental implant to replace the tooth. It starts to get smaller on the sides and then turns into a narrow ridge of bone. Then it shrinks up and down, leaving a deep depression where the tooth used to be.

Shifting Teeth

People often think that teeth stay in place on their own, but in reality, they are constantly shifting and moving in tiny ways. A tooth stays in place because of the pressure from both nearby teeth and opposite teeth that bite against each other.

This means that when you lose a tooth, the teeth on either side are likely to move into the space left by the missing tooth. The tooth that bites against it may also move into the space. When the missing tooth is in the lower jaw and the opposing tooth in the upper jaw moves down, this is more likely to happen.

All of this moving around can cause small gaps to form between other teeth, which can be annoying because it lets food get stuck while you eat.

Bite Problems

These changes aren’t just bothersome. They can change how the top and bottom jaws fit together when you bite. When your bite changes, it can cause a whole new set of problems, such as clenching or grinding your teeth, sensitive teeth, cracked teeth, and TMJ disorder.

The good news is that these changes can be fixed with orthodontic treatment, and the better news is that you can avoid them by replacing the missing tooth as soon as possible. The bad news is that it can be expensive and take months to years of treatment to fix these problems.

Digestive Problems

When you lose a tooth, you lose a certain amount of chewing and grinding surface area. Especially when several teeth are missing, the lost surface area makes it harder to chew.

The first step in digesting your food is to chew it properly. Chewing breaks food down into smaller pieces that enzymes in saliva can work on. People who are missing several teeth end up swallowing bigger pieces of food, which can cause digestive problems and nutritional deficiencies from nutrients that aren’t absorbed.

Cosmetic Problems

When a tooth is missing in a visible area of the mouth, it is easy to see how it affects the way you look. Did you know, though, that missing back teeth can also change the way you look?

Even a single missing tooth can make that part of the face look “sunken in.” People who are missing a lot of back teeth actually lose height in their faces. Without teeth to set the vertical height of the jaws, the upper and lower jawbones move closer to each other. This makes the face shorter, which makes wrinkles show up more and makes the face look much older. Even if you have all of your front teeth, this can happen.

How does a dental implant help?

You can replace a missing tooth in more than one way. The problem is that most of them depend on the support of the teeth next to them, which can make the problems caused by the missing tooth worse.

The only way to replace a tooth that can stand on its own is with a dental implant. Because it is anchored into the jawbone, it doesn’t put any pressure on the teeth next to it, and it gets all of its support from the bone, just like a natural tooth does. Dental implants are the only way to keep jawbone in place, and the crown that goes over them keeps the teeth around them from moving. With a dental implant, you can chew just as well as you could before you lost the tooth, or even better. Without a doubt, implants are the most effective way to chew.

Still Have Questions About Teeth Loss?

Call the Dr. Motiwala Dental Clinic & Implant Center right away to make an appointment with Dr. Motiwala for a consultation. He knows how to take out teeth that can’t be saved and replace them with dental implants. He can talk to you about all of your treatment options and help you decide which one will help you reach your goals the best.

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