Occasionally, a patient will balk at replacing a back tooth when he or she loses one. As a dentist, I know the important role of every tooth in an adult mouth, which goes far beyond esthetics.
When a tooth is lost, so is its ability to help the teeth on each side maintain proper position. A gap allows neighboring teeth to shift, allowing other teeth to move, also. It is a fact that when a natural tooth is lost, an adjacent tooth is statistically the next to be lost.
The tooth above or below are also compromised. When a tooth has no tooth to meet in a bite relationship, it grows longer. This traditionally conflicts with the neighboring teeth, top and bottom. Not only can this alter the bite, it typically leads to chips, fractures or breaks.
An issue many people are unaware of is bone resorption. This occurs when the jaw bone is no longer supporting the tooth root. Without this stimulation, the jaw begins to shrink, or resorb, affecting the stability of adjacent teeth. When several teeth in one area are lost, over time, facial changes can result from the shrinking bone. This is what gives long-time denture wearers a ‘sunken in’ mouth and a ‘granny look’ that ages them far beyond their actual years.
When a tooth is lost, replacing it promptly is the best option to preserve bone and protect the health of other teeth. Because Dental Implants recreate the presence of tooth roots in the jaw bone, this is the preferred method of tooth replacement. Dental Implants are also becoming the preferred tooth replacement choice for adults, regardless of how many teeth are missing, often because they are designed to last a lifetime.
Of course, a flattering smile is always a positive reflection. Having a gap in one’s smile or noticeable when laughing can send a message that is a ‘step down’ from who they really are.
If you are missing teeth, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange a free consultation. During this, I’ll discuss all your options for tooth replacement and answer your questions so you can determine what is most appropriate.