Gaps from missing teeth can make it difficult to bite, chew, talk and smile, which can lead to inadequate nutrition and issues with self-confidence. Each tooth in your mouth has a specific function, and a missing tooth or teeth reduces that function.
If there is a space from a missing tooth, often the tooth behind that missing tooth will start drifting into the open space, changing the position of the teeth and the occlusion of the jaw. Teeth tend to want to drift “mesially” meaning toward the centre of the mouth. This drift can make it difficult to close the space later on, so it’s essential to address a missing tooth when it happens.
Opposing teeth tend to over-erupt into the space of a missing tooth. Teeth function best by having an opposing tooth to bite down against, and when that opposing tooth is no longer there, there will be an excessive eruption of the tooth. This over eruption can affect the health and longevity of the tooth as well as make it challenging to fill the space from the missing tooth.
Missing teeth lead to bone loss in the jaw. The roots of teeth aid in keeping the bone level at the proper height, and when there are no longer roots holding it in place, it can recede. This can happen in just a few years after tooth loss, so it is essential to address missing teeth when it happens. Sometimes bone grafting will need to be done to place a dental implant years later.
You have several options to replace missing teeth. These options include dentures (partial or full) bridges and implants. Dental implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement, as they act and feel just like natural teeth. Dental implants involve a titanium screw placed into the bone and a porcelain or ceramic crown placed on top.
If you have a missing tooth and would like to discuss treatment options, or have any questions about missing teeth or treatment options, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.