Losing a tooth as an adult can feel embarrassing, but you do not have to leave the space vacant indefinitely. Dental implants are an effective way to replace a tooth and complete your smile. In fact, from a health perspective, it is a much better idea to fill in that space than to leave it empty. Here, Dr. Darrin Rapoport, Dr. Ralf Schuler and Dr. Ida Zarrabi explain what can happen when you ignore a missing tooth.
Your Other Teeth Can Shift out of Place
Teeth have a much easier time staying in alignment when they are all present. When a vacancy opens amidst a row of teeth, the adjacent teeth tend to drift toward the missing space. As these teeth move out of alignment, so can their neighboring teeth, creating a domino effect that impacts the overall straightness of your teeth.
Disruption to Your Bite
Without a full set of teeth, you may start to adjust the way you chew to compensate. These alterations to your biting motion can cause teeth grinding, headaches and tooth pain. A whole series of dental problems can follow.
You probably know that your jawbone supports your teeth, but you may not be aware that the reverse is true as well. Tooth roots play a key role in keeping your jawbone strong, by stimulating bone growth. When a tooth comes out, these benefits go with it. The jawbone gradually deteriorates. With a weakened jawbone, your other teeth are at heightened risk of falling out. Your face can even lose some of its shape and appear sunken in.
Not having a tooth also affects the gums. When there is not a tooth to seal in, the gum tissue thins in the area. Unfortunately, this can cause trouble for the adjacent teeth. Receding gums expose more surface area on these teeth, increasing their sensitivity and amplifying the likelihood of infection.
Self-Consciousness about Your Smile
While the potential health problems associated with missing teeth are the main reason to seek dental implants, there may be cosmetic concerns as well. Gaps in the mouth are noticeable, which may make you want to hide your smile when you interact with other people. In the long run, it is much easier to have your tooth replaced than to try to hide your missing tooth from friends and coworkers.
Replace Your Missing Tooth
The periodontists at Pacific Northwest Periodontics are some of the Seattle area’s best dental implant specialists. To schedule a consultation for a dental implant, please call our Tukwila office at (206) 575-1086 or our Kent office at (253) 239-3032.