Why You Shouldn't Ignore a Missing Tooth

If you are one of the 120 million people in the United States who are missing at least one tooth, you should take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Just because there are others in the same boat, though, doesn’t mean you should let the problem go, even if it’s in the back of your mouth where no one can see it.

As Jennifer Sunkin, DMD, at Hudson River Dental Arts can tell you, if you don’t take care of the problem, your missing tooth could lead to more severe issues that are harder to deal with. Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t ignore a missing tooth.

Your teeth can move out of alignment

When you have all of your teeth, they are naturally close together (that’s why you have to use floss to get between them). When you’re missing a tooth, the gap is much wider, so the teeth on both sides of the gap tend to lean into the opening. 

The teeth next to them then shift over into the new space that has been created there, and the chain reaction keeps going until your previously straight teeth are visibly crooked and don’t come together for a proper bite. This shifting can also cause headaches and jaw pain.

You can lose bone mass in your jaw

You may not realize this, but a large part of your jawbone strength depends on stimulation that it receives from the small movements, vibrations, and clicks of your teeth as they make contact with each other throughout the day. 

If you’re missing a tooth, that area of your jawbone doesn’t receive its needed stimulation, so you begin to lose bone density. This can lead to aesthetic issues — your face may become pinched or saggy in that area — along with problems eating and talking. The change to your facial structure also makes you appear older.

Your risk of gum disease and tooth decay increases

The space that your missing teeth leave behind is a perfect breeding ground (think warm and wet) for many types of bacteria that can cause painful infections that lead to gum disease and tooth decay. 

Once you have gum disease, your gums start to recede, which can cause more tooth loss. Gum disease has also been linked to heart disease and diabetes, so you could be putting your overall health in jeopardy just from a missing tooth. 

What’s a good solution?

If you have a missing tooth, dental implants offer the most natural solution to replace your tooth and fill the gap in your smile. Dr. Sunkin is an expert at inserting titanium dental implants into your jawbone and then adding a prosthetic tooth that looks and feels natural. You’ll look like yourself again with minimal fuss — and you’ll preserve your health.

Contact Dr. Sunkin to set up a consultation today to discuss whether dental implants are the right solution for you.

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