If you’ve lost an adult tooth, it may be tempting to ignore the issue, especially if you aren’t currently experiencing pain or cosmetic complaints. However, ignoring a missing tooth can lead to potentially serious complications you want to avoid.
Our expert team at 2K Dental in Parma, Cleveland, Cuyahoga Falls, and Akron, Ohio, provides emergency dentistry, dentures, and dental implants to protect your oral health, improve your smile, and keep you functioning well when you’ve lost a tooth.
Causes of a missing tooth
Some 120 million people in the United States are missing at least one adult tooth, making it a common problem.
Factors that up your odds of one or more missing teeth include:
- Cavities and decay
- Genetic conditions, such as hypodontia
- Poor dental hygiene
- Severe gum disease
- Traumatic injuries
While injuries may suddenly move a tooth out of its socket, many other causes are gradual. For example, if you have gum disease, you might not realize you need to have an affected tooth extracted until advanced symptoms set in.
Reasons you shouldn’t ignore a missing tooth
Addressing a missing tooth sooner than later can help ensure that your oral health remains as healthy as possible in the long term. Here are just a few complications you can avoid with prompt care:
1. Increased gum disease risk
Space left by a missing tooth in your mouth provides fertile ground for accumulated bacteria. And when harmful bacteria gather and stay put, you can easily develop gum disease – a common inflammatory condition that can lead to more tooth loss.
Gum disease may bring other complications as well, given that it’s linked with heart disease. Gum disease may also worsen existing heart problems.
2. Poor alignment and pain
A missing tooth can cause gaps between your teeth. As a result, the teeth surrounding the gap tend to lean toward the opening. Once that happens, a domino effect can unfold as teeth beside the leaning teeth shift.
As your alignment worsens, your teeth may appear crooked. Your bite may be impacted as well. Over time, you could experience related headaches and jaw pain.
3. Reduced jawbone density
The strength of your jawbone relies heavily on the stimulation it receives from the small movements of your teeth as you go about your day. When you’re missing a tooth, the lack of jawbone stimulation that results can lead to reduced bone density.
Reduced jawbone density can lead to aesthetic problems, too, such as a saggy or pinched look on your face. You might also struggle to talk or eat normally and look older.
Replacing your missing tooth
Our team may recommend partial dentures or dental implants if you're missing one or more teeth. While both devices are custom-crafted tooth replacements, dentures are removable, and implants stay in place 24/7. We also offer implant-supported dentures if you’re missing quite a few teeth and want the benefits of dentures with the long-lasting nature of implants.
Dental implants are your sturdiest option and involve several treatment stages to get the implant itself (a rod that serves as the tooth’s “root”) and crown in place. In some cases, bone grafting is needed to strengthen the surrounding jawbone to support the implant.
To learn which tooth replacement option is right for you or get started with treatment, call the 2K Dental location nearest you or message us through our website.