Why You Should Never Ignore a Missing Tooth

Whether your tooth is missing as the result of an accident or irreparable decay, you may be tempted to ignore the space if it’s not obvious when you smile. Since your teeth are meant to act as a team, however, losing just one can create problems that greatly impact your oral health and the overall appearance of your smile.

Tooth alignment

Each tooth is supported by its roots, the jawbone, surrounding gums, and neighboring teeth. When a tooth is missing, the teeth around the gap begin to shift out of place and move toward the empty space. The tooth directly above a missing tooth can also shift, dropping down.

All this shifting can push your bite out of alignment, which causes visible crookedness in your teeth as well as difficulty chewing. A misaligned bite also increases wear and tear on the enamel that helps protect your teeth from decay. In addition, the risks of fracturing your teeth as you chew increase. Chewing even softer foods can become a problem when you’re missing one or more teeth.

Gum health

Your gums fit closely around the foundation of your teeth and help prevent bacterial buildup on the tooth portions that rest below the gum line, such as the root. Gaps in your smile can cause your gums to pull away from neighboring teeth. This increases the risk of bacterial infection and tartar buildup that can lead to gum disease and, if not treated, eventual tooth loss.  

Bone loss

Healthy tooth roots interact with your jawbone, which helps hold them in place. When a tooth goes missing, bony jaw tissue in the affected area declines. Over time, this bone loss can alter the structural appearance of your face as your jawbone begins to weaken and recede. Missing teeth can also make you appear older as your cheeks become sunken due to loss of tooth support.

Selecting your replacement tooth (teeth)

There are several options to choose from when replacing missing teeth. Dr. Quagliata will discuss these in detail before you select your replacements, which may include dentures, bridges, or implants. Bridges and dentures (removable or semi-permanent devices) are popular choices for many individuals, and advances in dental materials and technology have increased their natural appearance.

However, dental implants are becoming an increasingly popular choice for replacing one or many missing teeth. They’re often described as the next best thing to natural. The visible teeth (crowns) are made of tooth-colored material that’s extremely durable, usually porcelain or composite. 

There’s also an implant “root” made of titanium that’s surgically affixed into your jawbone. The biocompatible nature of this manmade root ensures your body will continue producing bony tissue to support and strengthen the implant. This gives the implant a very realistic appearance and helps protect your oral health at the same time. 

Whether you’re missing one, some, or all of your teeth, you can rely on Dr. Quagliata to provide detailed information regarding your best option for replacement teeth. Call IQ Family & Cosmetic Dentistry at 585-207-2159 today to schedule an appointment or book your visit online. 

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