Cosmetically, missing a tooth isn’t fun. It can feel uncomfortable or embarrassing to have a gap in your teeth. But besides lacking elegance, missing a tooth can be harmful to your dental health. This is why it’s important to replace the tooth with a dental implant, a dental bridge, removable partial dentures, etc. Your dentist will discuss the options that best suit your needs. Choosing no replacement should never be an option. Here are 4 reasons why replacing a missing tooth is vital to your dental health.
1. Teeth may shift and loosen. When every tooth is in your mouth, neatly in a row, they can keep each other lined up and stable. If you’re missing a tooth however, you risk the possibility of teeth shifting. Teeth can drift out of place, leading to a change in your bite, potential gum disease and possible tooth decay.
2. Your face could change. The ADA states that even the loss of a back tooth can cause your mouth to shift, potentially making your face look older. Every aspect of your face is intertwined, so the loss of a tooth can cause your bone to deteriorate and muscles to droop over time. Replacing the missing tooth helps to keep the others in place, ensuring your mouth stays healthy (with good oral care!) and your face doesn’t change dramatically.
3. It may affect your mental health. If you’ve ever had a missing tooth (and we all have at some point!) you may remember how difficult it can be to chew with a hole in your smile. While this discomfort may be ignorable for a while, it can grow irritating after a time. And missing a tooth may be fun while you are a kid, not so much as an adult. Some people may find that the missing tooth affects their speech patterns, which can lead to a loss in self-confidence. Your tooth replacement may take some getting used to, but this is temporary and far-preferable to the constant discomfort of a gap in your grin. Patients who have dental implants placed often speak of how they not only look natural but also feel like their real tooth.
4. TMJ disorder. The muscles on the side of your head that help you chew and rotate your jaw are called temporomandibular joints, or TMJ. Changes to these muscles and the system they are connected to can result in a lot of physical pain. One change that can lead to TMJ disorder is the loss of a tooth and failure to replace it. TMJ disorder in Clayton can be diagnosed and treated by Dr. Folden W. Lee, DDS, but the best treatment is prevention. If you have a missing tooth, consult with your dentist about teeth replacement options in Clayton.
Dental technology today is quite advanced, so if you have a missing tooth that needs replacing your dentist can help you decide which treatment is best for you. The important thing is to act quickly to maintain your healthy, beautiful smile. The quicker you take action, the quicker you can smile with confidence again.