Have you lost a tooth recently? Or perhaps you’ve had one or more teeth extracted recently due to damage, decay, or gum disease? Regardless of how a missing tooth goes missing, it is important to replace said tooth in a timely manner. Although you may not be worried about replacing missing teeth, especially if they are not immediately visible when you speak or smile, not replacing them can cause serious problems for your remaining teeth. As such, here are five reasons why you should replace missing teeth:
Prevents a Loss of Function
For starters, replacing missing teeth helps you to prevent a loss of function. Your teeth are essential for biting into and chewing on food, as well as for proper speech pronunciation. Missing even one tooth can affect both of these functions, especially depending on the specific location of the missing tooth. Eating and speaking functions can further be impaired when more than one tooth is missing.
Keeps Your Bite Even
Another reason why you should replace missing teeth is because it helps to keep your bite even. When there are spaces left in the mouth from missing teeth, the surrounding teeth will start to shift and fill in these spaces. However, this causes the upper and lower teeth to meet improperly, which will make your bite uneven. In addition to increasing the risk of damage from certain teeth absorbing more force than normal, an uneven bite can also lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
Just in case an uneven bite is not enough to convince you, another reason to replace missing teeth is to prevent overgrowth of the opposing tooth. Overgrowth can happen when the opposing tooth no longer has a counter force to prevent it from continuing to grow. Basically, without this force, the tooth opposing the gap left by a missing tooth will continue to grow until it has become long enough to partially fill in the gap. Of course, this can cause functional and aesthetic problems.
Maintains Bone Mass
Another reason why you should replace missing teeth, with dental implants specifically, is because they maintain your bone mass by protecting against bone resorption. Bone resorption is a naturally occurring process whereby the body leeches bone from the jawbone and distributes it to other parts of the body. This happens because the jawbone no longer needs as much bone mass since it no longer needs to absorb chewing forces. However, jawbone loss will continue to spread until the surrounding teeth become loose as a result of bone deterioration. Having missing teeth replaced specifically with dental implants can prevent this from happening by maintaining bone mass.
Finally, you should have missing teeth replaced because it restores the look of your smile. Although you may not be concerned about appearances, studies have shown that people missing a tooth have a harder time being hired, being in relationships, and being overall more happy. Replacing one or more missing teeth improves the look of your smile, as well as your overall appearance and quality of life.