Why You Should Never Ignore a Missing Tooth

Around 40 million American adults are missing at least one of their teeth. If you’re one of them, you shouldn’t ignore your missing tooth, even if you don’t feel as though it affects your appearance or health. 

You know that your teeth work together to help you chew, talk, and smile, but they also support each other and promote healthy bone growth in your jaw. A missing tooth can have long-lasting effects on your dental and overall health, including the following issues.

Your appearance

No one wants a smile marred by a missing tooth. Whether your missing tooth is one of your front teeth or a molar in the back of your mouth, the gap is visible to others when you smile, talk, or eat. 

Drifting teeth

Your teeth put a slight amount of pressure on each other and your jawbone, and this keeps them in place. If you lose a tooth, your other teeth move to take advantage of the extra space. In addition to your remaining teeth drifting and spreading apart, they could twist or start to lean in or out.

Malocclusion (improper alignment)

Your upper and lower teeth work in pairs. If you’re missing a tooth, its opposite can’t function correctly. Not only can you have trouble biting or chewing, but the way your teeth come together when you close your mouth also can change. This malocclusion, or abnormal bite, is only compounded if your remaining teeth drift or twist.

Bone loss

The roots of your teeth stimulate bone growth in your jaw, which is essential to the stable foundation for your teeth. If you’re missing a tooth, your jaw doesn’t get the stimulation it needs, and you may suffer from bone density loss and a weakened foundation for your teeth. Bone loss also can affect the shape of your jaw and your facial appearance. 

Additional lost teeth

The above factors combine to increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease — reason enough why you should never ignore a missing tooth. Another serious risk is future tooth loss.

For example, malocclusion and drifting teeth can make it more difficult for you to clean your teeth at home, which makes you more likely to develop tooth decay and gum disease, both of which contribute to tooth loss. Bone loss reduces the strength and stability of the tooth foundation your jaw provides, which threatens your remaining teeth.

What should I do if I’m missing a tooth?

If you’re missing a tooth, make an appointment with Kerry M. Bloom, DDS, in Houston. Dr. Bloom examines your mouth and teeth and can suggest the best treatment to replace your missing tooth. 

For example, you may decide that a dental implant is the best option to restore your smile. Dental implants are prosthetic teeth placed directly into your jaw that not only replace the visible portion of your tooth, but also the root. This means you don’t miss out on critical bone growth and put your other teeth at risk.

Dentures or a dental bridge also can replace missing teeth. Make sure to ask Dr. Bloom about your options. He’s always happy to answer questions and help you make the best choices for your dental health.

Prevent tooth loss

Avoiding tooth loss is the best approach to protecting your dental health. Brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day and floss at least once daily. If you play sports, wear a mouthguard while you train and compete to protect your teeth. And, of course, keep up with routine dental checkups and professional cleanings every six months. 

If you’re missing a tooth, call Dr. Bloom’s Houston office or make an appointment online today for expert, personalized dental care and tooth replacement options.

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