What Happens If You Don’t Replace Missing Teeth?
Do you have missing or damaged teeth? If you still have the majority of your natural teeth, you may not see the need to replace or repair your missing teeth, especially if the missing teeth are not visible in the front of the mouth. But just because you may feel like you don’t need to replace the teeth that are missing, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. In fact, failing to replace missing teeth can have a significant negative impact on your oral and physical health. Below is more information on what can happen if you don’t replace your missing teeth.
Risks Associated with Missing Teeth
If you choose not to replace your missing teeth, you may be at a greater risk to experience the following:
Misaligned Teeth: When a tooth is left missing, the empty space allows room for the neighboring teeth to start shifting. Shifting teeth can cause teeth that were once straight to become crooked or misaligned. This shifting can also create issues for dental hygiene. Teeth that are crowded become harder to floss and keep clean.
Misaligned Bite: As the teeth shift to fill the empty space, it can change the way they come together, creating an improper or misaligned bite. Bite issues may cause bruxism, the habitual grinding of the teeth, a jaw disorder, or excessive wear and tear on the healthy teeth. These issues can promote damage to the enamel of teeth, tension headaches, tooth sensitivity and more.
Increase the Risk for Losing More Teeth: A missing tooth can start a domino effect of tooth loss. As healthy teeth shift into the missing space, the roots can be weakened. Additionally, the missing tooth can cause weakening of the jawbone and infection in the gums. When a tooth is not replaced it may increase the risk of losing more teeth by 30%.
Bone Loss: A missing tooth can also trigger bone loss in the jawbone. Without the tooth to stimulate the bone to continue to grow, the jawbone will begin to deteriorate where the missing tooth once was. This deterioration may also weaken the surrounding teeth and lead to further bone loss.
Headaches. When adults are missing teeth, they have a tendency to change the way they talk and chew. Regularly chewing on one side of the mouth can lead to the uneven use of muscles, eventually causing chronic and persistent headaches.
Greater Risk for Health Issues: A missing tooth can increase the risk for getting gum disease. Gum disease can lead to many other serious health issues like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer. How does a missing tooth promote gum disease? The gap in the gums becomes an accessible entry point for bacteria. This bacteria may eventually lead to gum disease, tooth loss, and more bone loss. Additionally, having missing teeth can make it challenging to eat a diet rich in healthy and nutritious foods. Without a healthy diet, a patient may develop nutritional deficiencies over time which can affect their overall health.