When you break, chip or lose a front tooth, there’s little delay in getting it fixed. If it’s a molar or tooth that doesn’t have much of a smile presence, then you might think there’s no hurry in taking care of it. It’s not all that painful. It’s annoying, but doesn’t seem to impact much, right? The reality is a missing tooth that isn’t fixed can create significant problems for you down the line.
Tooth Movement and Tooth Decay
When there is a large gap between your teeth, the surrounding teeth will try to bunch together trying to fill the gap by moving toward each other. This is a process called malocclusion and causes the teeth to not be properly aligned.
This could lead to poor chewing, misaligned teeth and tooth decay. If the alignment is extreme enough then, you may require braces. If you can’t chew your food properly, which is the purpose of molars, then you could end up stomach ailments like acid reflux.
It can also cause bone loss along the jawline, which can cause your mouth to sag. Food and other particles can end up caught within the vacant and lead to tooth decay in neighboring teeth.
Replacing Your Missing Tooth
The most common ways to replace missing teeth are with dental bridges or implants. A dental bridge is made up of a prosthetic tooth sandwiched between two crowns. The crowns are placed over the two teeth adjacent to the missing tooth to create a bridge that supports the middle prosthetic tooth. The biggest downside is the two adjacent teeth are perfectly healthy, but must be filed to fit the two crowns. The bridge isn’t anchored either, so it may weaken over time and need replaced.
The other option is an implant. An implant is connected to the bone and then fitted with an artificial tooth. The adjacent teeth aren’t involved and they are durable because of the connection to the bone. They are more expensive, but the cost might be offset by the peace of mind that it won’t need replaced.
Dr. Ed and the staff at A Lifetime of Smiles can help you identify which treatment is best for you. While you may think a missing tooth is nothing to be concerned about, it’s important to get it taken care of as soon as possible. Contact us today for an appointment.