The Consequences of One Missing Tooth
Tooth loss happens to many people as they get older and is often caused by tooth decay, mouth injury or severe gum disease. Regardless of the cause, replacing that lost tooth is paramount to saving your remaining teeth and the integrity of your jawbone. Waiting to replace a missing tooth will have drastic consequences and cost you more in dental problems and procedures down the line.
A Sunken Facial Shape
In the first year alone, your jawbone can degrade and lose up to 25 percent of its density due to the lack of stimulation from the lost tooth. Your mouth will sag, your cheeks may appear sunken and you will likely look older. This happens because your teeth stimulate and support your jawbone. Without that pressure from the tooth and its root, the bone atrophies and resorbs, leaving you with an aged appearance. Dental implants can restore the jaw’s integrity with a titanium post that works as an artificial tooth root.
Difficulty Chewing Your Food
Your mouth relies on a full set of teeth to break down food to swallow and digest easily. When you lose a tooth, biting off chunks of food and grinding chewy meats becomes challenging. Missing a tooth — specifically a molar — will impact how you eat everything. Some people resist replacing a lost tooth if it’s easily hidden in the back of the mouth, but molars are essential to chewing food.
Slurring Your Words
You need all your teeth for clear speech. The gaps and changes in your bite from one or more missing teeth will make it difficult for your tongue and mouth to pronounce words. You may whistle or spit when you try to talk, along with slurred speech. While your mouth may adapt to speak differently and accommodate the missing tooth, it’s best to replace the tooth to restore your speaking abilities.
Shifting Teeth and More Missing Teeth
The gap created by one missing tooth poses a problem for all your remaining teeth. They will start to migrate to fill the gap, becoming crooked, creating gaps in other spaces, and jeopardizing the strength of their roots. It’s common for a missing tooth to lead the way for further tooth loss, which is another reason why replacing that lost tooth is critical to maintaining a healthy smile. `
A Misaligned Bite May Cause a TMJ Disorder
Bite irregularities affect more than your teeth and gums. The misalignment and changes caused by one missing tooth will affect how your teeth meet when you bite. The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) on either side of your jaw rely on proper tooth alignment and work together with your head, neck and jaw to open and close correctly. When you have an irregular bite from tooth loss, you can develop a TMJ disorder. TMJ disorders cause a host of symptoms, including headaches, jaw locking or popping, muscle pain, sensitivity, tooth wear and more.
You can avoid these embarrassing and painful problems by replacing your missing tooth as soon as possible. Contact Pearce Dental Group in Cincinnati to discuss your restorative dentistry options, such as dental implants.
Call (513) 651-0110 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Troy Pearce, Dr. Jim Simpson or Dr. Sheri Crawford today.