Missing one or more teeth is not uncommon, whether it’s from gum disease, tooth decay, trauma or a broken tooth. But once the tooth has gone, do you need to replace it? Having a missing tooth can cause the following issues to your dental health and lifestyle:
Having missing teeth can cause problems breaking down food, as it will impact the way the rest of your teeth bite together. This can put a strain on the remainder of your teeth and may restrict you from eating certain types of food. Food can also get stuck in the gap where your tooth once was. This increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Irritation and sore gums
As you struggle to break down food, you may notice that the gum where the tooth is missing becomes easily irritated and sore. This also increases the risk of gum disease.
Missing teeth can change the way your facial features look, causing your muscles to sag or appear sunken. Gaps in your smile can also impact your self-esteem and may make you feel less confident.
Depending on which teeth are missing, you may struggle to pronounce certain words or develop a lisp. This can impact your self-confidence and limit your social interactions.
When a tooth is missing, the natural roots are no longer in the jawbone. This leaves a space and causes the jawbone to deteriorate over time. Bacteria gradually eat away at the underlying jawbone and the bone becomes reabsorbed into the body, causing significant alterations in the appearance and functionality of your jaw.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you may wish to replace the missing tooth or teeth. There are several ways of doing this including:
Dentures are also known as false teeth and can be full or partial, depending on how many teeth are missing. Partial dentures are made of plastic or metal and clip onto the teeth next to your denture. Full dentures cover the roof of your mouth and balance using suction.
Bridges are more suitable if you are only missing one or two teeth, and most commonly consist of crowns. They are bonded to your natural teeth, with the false tooth in the middle.
In an implant treatment your dentist will place a metal rod on your jawbone to hold the false tooth or teeth in place. Over several months, your jawbone will fuse with the metal rod and more dentures, implants or teeth can be clipped on.
If you are concerned about your missing tooth or teeth and would like further guidance, make an appointment with your dentist. They can inspect the area, advise whether you need to replace the missing tooth, and find the best option for you.