Why You Should Never Ignore a Missing Tooth

As a kid, losing a tooth was something you looked forward to. It meant you were going to get a little gift from the Tooth Fairy. It also meant your adult teeth were on their way to fill in the missing spot.

But as an adult, losing a tooth doesn’t come with any gifts. In fact, losing an adult tooth may lead to other, more serious problems and shouldn’t be ignored. Here at Eagle River Dental we want you to know what happens when you lose one of your adult teeth and why it’s not a good idea to ignore it.

Affects the alignment of your other teeth

While your teeth are pretty much set in their positions in your mouth, they still can shift over the years, even if they probably won’t move too much considering there’s not all that much room in between your teeth to begin with. 

However, if you’re missing a tooth, the large open space it leaves behind allows more room for shifting. In addition to the gap in your grin, your missing tooth may also lead to tooth misalignment and a more crooked smile. 

You may not be worried about your crooked smile, but misaligned teeth make it harder for you to maintain good oral hygiene, which increases your risk of developing cavities, and, even worse, gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

Increases jawbone loss

Beyond eating, you may not give much thought to the function of your teeth. But they do more than help you bite through your steak and nosh on a raw carrot. 

Every time you take a bite, your teeth stimulate your jawbone. Like your muscles, if your jawbone doesn’t get a regular workout, it starts to lose some of its mass. This is referred to as bone loss. In the first year after losing a tooth, you can lose up to 25% of your jawbone height. Loss of bone can affect your facial features by decreasing support in your cheeks and lips, which may make you appear older. It can also affect the support and stability of your other teeth.

Alters your bite

Losing a tooth changes the whole dynamic of your bite, which may place too much stress on your other teeth, as well as on your gums, jaw joints, and facial muscles. The extra stress may increase your risk of breaking or losing more teeth. It can also lead to chronic neck or head pain, or cause you to develop temporomandibular joint disease (TMJ). 

Don’t ignore your missing tooth

Missing a tooth can lead to a number of health issues, but there’s no reason to just let it go when you have a replacement option as good as your natural tooth. At Eagle River Dental, our dental specialists can restore your smile and your oral health with a dental implant. 

The implant acts like a replacement root for your tooth, so it stimulates your jawbone and keeps all your other teeth in place. Plus, it fuses with your jawbone, which means it’s as secure and strong as your natural tooth. 

If you’re feeling uncertain about dental implants, we also offer a dental bridge, which is a dental prosthetic that fills in the gap created by your missing tooth.

A missing tooth can be the beginning of many health problems, but you can take steps to prevent future issues. Call Eagle River Dental today at 907-341-4315 to schedule an appointment with one of our dental experts and learn about the replacement options for your missing tooth. 

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