Imagine a two-lane bridge that extends over water. Let’s say a boat comes along and destroys one of the pillars supporting the bridge. You may assume, “So? There are plenty of remaining pillars.” The loss of one, at first, may not seem to create risk. Yet, over time, the weight redistribution to adjacent pillars, coupled with the weakened support of the road above, will result in problems. As each pillar is affected by the one next to it, it will also have a like effect on its neighboring pillar.
Now, think of your upper and lower teeth. Proper alignment helps jaw joints and facial muscles move harmoniously during chewing, speaking and even yawning. When just one tooth is missing, a domino effect is set in motion. The tooth above or below grows out of alignment. Teeth on both sides of the missing tooth tilt out of their proper positions. The jaw bone that held the now-missing tooth root begins to ‘resorb,’ or melt away.
Every action creates another action, and none of them are good. The reason so many children and adults have orthodontic treatment is not merely to have an attractive smile (although that’s a nice bonus). Orthodontic treatment ensures the natural balanced structure in your mouth positively affects all other structures.
Let’s say you ignore that missing tooth, deciding you don’t need to replace it since it’s not visible in a smile. Here are some repercussions you can expect:
• When a tooth is lost and not replaced, an adjacent tooth is the next one you’ll lose.
• When teeth move out of alignment, typical results are worn, chipped or broken teeth.
• The jaw joint is strained when teeth are misaligned. This contributes to night-time clenching and grinding, frequent headaches, migraines, jaw popping and tenderness, ear ringing, vertigo and facial pain.
When you consider the many problems that can be avoided when you replace a tooth, replacement makes perfect sense. Ideally, teeth are replaced with dental implants, since crowning of neighboring teeth is not necessary (as with crown-&-bridge combinations). The implanted post also prevents resorption of the jaw bone since it recreates the presence of a natural tooth root. Crown-&-bridge and partials can also replace teeth, filling the empty space so adjoining teeth maintain their proper positions.
There’s a good reason why bridges are closed to traffic when pillars are damaged. Until they are repaired, the bridge is unsafe even though the risk may not be obvious. With your smile, risks can be greatly minimized by being proactive. Because it’s not a matter of IF a problem will occur, but a matter of WHEN.
If you have lost teeth or have teeth that are misaligned, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a free Consultation. We’ll be happy to discuss tooth replacement options as well as orthodontic treatment, including Invisalign.