While many people are not too bothered replacing missing teeth, not having a tooth can sometimes affect us in ways we’re not ready for. There are 3 main ways that missing teeth can affect us:
- This is usually the biggest concern for most people when they face the prospect of losing a tooth. Depending on where in the mouth the gap will be will influence how important a factor this is, but certainly for teeth that are highly visible in the mouth, losing them can have a dramatic negative affect and replacement is usually sought.
- Perhaps less obvious until a tooth is missing is the reduction in function. Particularly when missing a molar that is responsible for doing a lot of chewing,our ability to eat certain foods, such as steak, becomes compromised. Replacement of these teeth to be able to continue to eat what you want to and maintain your quality of life is an important consideration.
- In the short term this is not typically a great concern, however over time a missing tooth can lead to other problems such as.
- Overloading other teeth. The same amount of force is applied when you bite regardless of how many teeth you have. The less teeth you have, the more force is put on the remaining teeth. The higher the force on the remaining teeth, the higher the risk of cracks and fractures starting to appear.
- Other teeth moving. Each tooth is held in its place by what’s around it. The opposing teeth (the teeth they bite onto) stop them from erupting too far, the adjacent teeth stop them from drifting sideways. When a tooth is gone, there is nothing to stop the adjacent and opposing teeth from moving out of position. Teeth in a poor position can start to other issues.
- Bone loss. The bone that holds our teeth in place is somewhat functional. When it has a job to do (i.e hold the teeth in place), it is there and does a good job. When it doesn’t have a job to do because the tooth is gone, then it starts to shrink away. When bone goes missing, it can make it harder to replace the teeth in the future, and more difficult and uncomfortable to support a denture.
- Jaw (TMJ) problems. When we have a full set of teeth, everything is balanced. As we lose teeth and start to have gaps, our habits change to compensate. We may start to chew only on one side, or have to push our jaw forward and/or to one side to get the teeth to contact enough to bite or chew. These unnatural movements can start to cause pain and problems in the jaw.
If you imagine you had a car with one flat tyre that you continued to drive on, at some point the other tyres would wear unevenly, your wheelalignment would be thrown out, and you might struggle to steer where the car is constantly trying to veer to one side. It’s a similar concept when teeth are missing.
There are several options for replacement of missing teeth, which would mostly fall into the categories of dental implants, dental bridges, or dentures. Given the variation of each individual situation, it’s best to speak with a dentist to discuss available options for you.
If you have a missing tooth and would like to talk about getting replaced, or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on (07) 3379 1328
We do offer free consultations for dental implants!