Why You Shouldn't Ignore A Missing Tooth

When a tooth falls out, it’s typical to first think about how it makes you look. How do you smile, knowing the gap in your teeth is quite likely to draw stares? But there is so much more to it than that. 

Having a missing tooth affects the health of your entire mouth. Ignoring that little problem of a missing tooth can lead to major dental problems later on. 

Malcolm Murray, DDS, and his team at MJM Family & Cosmetic Dentistry can help you fix the gap by installing a dental implant. That way, you don't risk having to face any of these consequences of an ignored missing tooth. 

One missing tooth might lead to more missing teeth 

Having one tooth missing can lead to multiple missing teeth, and this domino effect can happen quickly. The surrounding teeth can sense the extra space next to them. The roots below your gum line start to wander into the free space. 

This shifting can weaken the structure of the roots of a surrounding tooth. Once this happens, the entire tooth can become loose. Now, this second tooth is at risk of falling out. Losing a second tooth can lead to a third, and so on.

The gap left by that first missing tooth works vertically, too. Because your teeth are meant to work in pairs, a top and bottom tooth work together. When one is missing, the other grows weaker when it no longer has the pressure it needs. 

Headaches and jaw pain 

Beyond weakening nearby teeth, the vacancy from a missing tooth can totally throw off your bite balance. Once this happens, there is more pressure on the other teeth. This can happen without you ever realizing it. 

Over time, this imbalance can cause muscle strain and sore joints. This will lead to chronic headaches and TMJ disorder. 

Gum disease

When you have gaps in your teeth, plaque, tartar, and decay have plenty of room to creep in, leaving you at a greater risk of gum disease. This is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the US. 

Crooked teeth 

While we’ve noted that the very health of other teeth can be put at risk by a vacancy in your mouth, surviving teeth might still create a problem. Over time, the teeth on either side of the gap may start to lean and shift toward the opening. 

Once the teeth nearest the vacancy in your mouth start to lean and shift, they create more space on the other side of them, so the next teeth over also begin to move. This domino effect can take over your entire jaw until your entire mouth is crooked and misaligned. 

Crooked teeth are more than just a cosmetic issue. They can cause all kinds of problems: 

Ultimately, one missing tooth can snowball into a mouth full of problems. 

Loss of bone mass 

As you chew, your teeth click together, and this action stimulates your jaw bone. You need this stimulation to keep your jawbone alive and healthy. When you lose a tooth, this part of your jaw doesn’t get the stimulation it needs. 

Over time, you begin to lose mass in this part of your jaw.  This will make your jaw weaker and less able to support your remaining teeth. Your face can actually change shape.

Make an appointment and take care of your missing tooth

If you have a missing tooth, then time is of the essence. The sooner you have a dental implant placed in that space, the better off the rest of your mouth will be. 

Dr. Murray and his team at MJM Family & Cosmetic Dentistry pride themselves on helping patients get their smile back with the use of dental implants. Then you can smile with confidence, knowing that you’re back to your beauty and full functionality. 

To set up your consultation for a dental implant, call the practice today, send the team a message here on the website, or use the convenient Request Appointment feature. 

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