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What Happens if You Ignore a Missing Tooth

It’s not uncommon for adults to have missing teeth. About 178 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one permanent tooth.

If you have a missing tooth and haven’t had it replaced because you’re too busy, believe it’s too costly, or don’t think it matters, you could be risking your oral health and overall well-being by ignoring the open gap in your gumline. When you lose a tooth to decay, disease, or a traumatic injury, the open gap can be the starting point for more complex conditions if it’s left untreated.

You can get the most natural-looking and comfortable tooth replacements when you work with experienced cosmetic dentistry specialists. George Kontoveros, DMD, and Anthony Klobas, DMD, of 2K Dental, have the expertise necessary to return your mouth to its natural function and appearance with artificial tooth replacements like dental implants. The team at 2K Dental specializes in providing artificial tooth replacements that allow patients to achieve a natural-looking, fully functioning smile after tooth loss. 

Your mouth looks and functions best when you have a full set of teeth. Find out why it’s so essential to correct the gap left by a missing tooth. 

Missing teeth can damage your facial structure

The tooth roots of a natural tooth attach it securely to your jawbone to bind the tooth in place.  Chewing and other jaw movements energize the jawbone to keep it healthy by stimulating nerves and regenerating cells.  

When you lose a tooth, your jaw loses stimulation at the site of the gap. Empty spaces along your gum can make you vulnerable to progressive bone loss, resulting in decreased facial support. 

Without teeth to support your gums, the structure of your jaw and the shape of your face can slowly change. Common changes include sunken or sagging cheeks, which can make you look older and less healthy.  

Missing teeth can damage oral function

Your mouth is intended to work as a unit with 32 teeth. When one of those components is removed, it affects the entire system.

When you lose a tooth, it changes the way you use your mouth. If the open space is tender, you may chew on the opposite side of your mouth or force your mouth to chew in an unnatural position. The result can lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. 

Difficulty eating and chewing can also lead to dietary changes. Changing your diet to avoid biting into hard or chewy foods may not be healthy for the rest of your body. Eliminating entire food groups or types of foods can lead to the absence of certain essential components like proteins, or the onset of health problems like malnourishment.

Missing teeth can affect remaining natural teeth

When a gap exists in your mouth, your remaining teeth tend to move to occupy the vacated space because they have no tooth next to them to help keep them in place. The effect results in misaligned teeth, painful chewing, and difficulty speaking normally.

The open gap left by a missing tooth can also create deep pockets for bacteria to hide and remain. This can lead to gum disease, a condition that can cause a receding gum line and the loss of more teeth. 

An untreated gum infection can threaten your overall well-being when the infection spreads to areas outside your mouth, like your heart or brain.

Missing teeth can have emotional consequences

It’s challenging to feel confident with an imperfect smile. Gaps in your teeth can make you feel self-conscious when you smile, speak, or chew.

Replacing your missing tooth can complete your smile and restore a normal appearance. Knowing you look your best can give you the confidence to make the most of social and professional interactions without worrying about the way your mouth looks. 

Find out more about the risks involved in ignoring a missing tooth and the options for restoring normal appearance and function. Contact our office in Parma, Cleveland, or Akron, Ohio, to schedule a consultation today.

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