January 17, 2020
What’s your first thought when you realize you’ve lost a tooth? If it was located near the front of your mouth, you’ll probably want to have the gap in your smile fixed right away. However, if the empty space is located where no one else can see it, you may think you can save yourself some money by simply learning to live with it instead of paying for a replacement. But the truth is that much more than your appearance is at stake; your oral health is at risk as well. It’s extremely important to recognize the severe impact missing teeth can have – and the benefits of replacing them with dental implants.
What Happens After You Lose a Tooth?
The consequences of a missing tooth might not be immediately obvious, especially if said tooth wasn’t normally visible. That said, over time you’ll notice:
- Decreased Chewing Efficiency: You need all your teeth to chew effectively; if one is missing, the forces won’t be distributed correctly.
- Dental Drift: Even if you currently have a perfectly aligned smile, any empty space in your mouth will cause your remaining teeth to shift. This can eventually lead to a very painful bite problem.
- Excessive Tooth Erosion: The rear teeth are particularly important for bearing the excessive pressures of biting and chewing. If they’re gone, the burden will be placed on your remaining teeth, causing them to wear down faster than they normally would.
- Bone Loss: The jaw depends on the stimulation of the teeth to maintain its height; without said stimulation, it will start to break down, and you’ll start looking noticeably older.
What Can Be Done About a Missing Tooth?
Of course, you can avoid many of the ill effects of losing your teeth simply by finding a suitable replacement. Partial dentures and fixed bridges can both be excellent solutions as they can help you chew properly again and can effectively fill the gap well enough that they prevent your other teeth from drifting out of place. However, depending on the state of your mouth, dental implants are usually your best option. They’re the only type of restoration that can replace the roots of the teeth and not just the part that’s normally visible in the mouth. As a result, they can stimulate the jaw to keep it healthy and strong. Additionally, implants are far more stable than other replacements, and they offer enhanced chewing power that will let you enjoy all of your favorite foods without restriction again.
Forcing yourself to live without a full set of teeth means dealing with complications and challenges that go well beyond your appearance. Talk to your implant dentist as soon as you can so that your grin doesn’t stay incomplete any longer than it has to!
About the Author
Dr. C.J. Landry has over 30 of years of dental practice experience and has completed thousands of hours of continuing education in numerous fields, including dental implant surgery and prosthodontics (the creation and placement of dentures and partial dentures). He’ll always take the extra time to learn about your personal needs and goals so that he can leave you feeling fully satisfied with your smile. If you’ve lost a tooth, schedule an appointment at his Marrero practice (Lapalco Family Dental) today by visiting his website or calling (504) 348-0080.
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