Why its' important to replace a missing tooth
A single lost or damaged tooth can influence your daily life. Even though it may be at the back of your mouth and not visible from the outside, over time it can start affecting your appearance, self-esteem, your oral health and even your health in general. Learn more about what role each tooth has to play in your mouth, the consequences of tooth loss and when to contact a dentist.
"I'm missing a back tooth. Do I need to replace it?"
Four reasons to talk to your dentist
Unsure whether to see a doctor about your damaged or lost tooth? Here is a list of reasons to make an appointment.
1. One or more teeth in your mouth are missing or are going to be pulled
A dental restoration at the right time can prevent further oral health complications that could affect remaining healthy teeth.
2. You're avoiding certain foods, because they're too difficult to eat
Getting your tooth replaced restores your full chewing function, so you can go back to enjoying the foods you love.
3. You're suffering from headaches or migraines since you’ve lost one or more teeth
Missing teeth can often affect the positioning of your other healthy teeth, causing a misfit of the upper and lower jaws and stiffness in the muscle and joints.
4. Your facial silhouette has changed since you’ve lost one or more teeth
A lack of teeth can severely reduce density of jaw bone, because it is no longer stimulated when chewing. This leads to a shrinking jaw line which makes you look older than you really are.
If you can say yes to one or more of these reasons, speak to your dentist about modern dental restorations that will let you smile again.
Your teeth: A story of molars, incisors, gum and bone
All of your teeth have an important role to play. This is where digestion starts, because they help you chew and grind up food. They also help you speak clearly and are the essence of your smile.
We start off with 20 milk teeth when we are children, which then get replaced by 32 permanent teeth.
What causes tooth problems?
Your tooth died
Plaque is a biofilm that forms on your teeth if it is not washed away by saliva or regularly brushed away with a toothbrush. Bacteria transfor sugar and starch into acids. These acids have a negative effect on the tooth enamel by dissolving the minerals that harden it. With time, this can destroy your teeth by creating holes. If not treated properly, your tooth can die.
Your gums are inflamed
Your gums are made up of tissue and ligaments that keep your teeth stable. They work as protective shields for your tooth roots and stimulate your jaw bone to grow around the tooth. When bacteria cause an inflammation of the gums, these ligaments start vanishing. The gum pulls back and the bone around the tooth reduces.
These gum diseases, also called periodontal diseases, loosen your teeth and expose the sensitive tooth roots. This makes it an easy job for bacteria to form on your teeth and cause tooth-root decay and tooth loss.
You had an accident
Accidents, for example in sports, can lead to the loss of one or several teeth and cause trauma to your gums and jaw bone. Often, trauma only becomes apparent months or years after the accident, when it has already impacted the tooth root.
It is genetically determined
Some people are born with a reduced number of teeth or no teeth at all (an illness called congenital anodontia), others never develop their permanent adult teeth. Sometimes the surface of your tooth (enamel) is not strong enough, which can create cone or peg-shaped teeth (ectodermal dysplasia).
Find out how dental implants can replace a missing or severely damaged tooth and bring back full function as well as a natural look and feel.
Consequences of a missing tooth
Effects on jaw bone and gum
When you lose a tooth, it disturbs the interplay between teeth and bone. Because gum and bone are no longer stimulated well enough due to the missing tooth, the jaw bone starts shrinking and your gum pulls back. This can weaken neighboring teeth until they collapse. Teeth in the opposite jaw can then start growing into the gap.
The more teeth are missing, the more challenging it can become to replace them.
Effects on your appearance
Missing teeth and a reduced jaw bone can make your face look older and wrinkly, and for your cheeks to become hollow and saggy, because they can no longer fully stabilize your lips and cheeks from the inside.
Every tooth counts.