If a tooth is causing significant pain, sometimes it is easy to assume that the best or only solution is to extract the tooth. Whilst in some cases this may be true, it is really important for patients to be aware that there are complications and degenerative issues that can be caused by missing teeth. There are:
Missing teeth, especially molars, can cause difficulty while chewing. This can be an irritant whilst eating, but can also irritate your stomach, as under-chewed food can lead to issues with reflux.
Your teeth actually help to keep your jaw bone solid and healthy. The forces from chewing stimulate the bone, and help to support it. If a tooth is lost and no replacement is made, that area of bone is no longer stimulated, and starts to atrophy, resulting in a loss of bone structure.
Missing teeth can actually have an impact on your pronunciation, and large gaps can result in slurring, whistling and even spitting while talking.
If a tooth is missing, the tooth that would normally bite down on it can start erupting further, into the space that was previously occupied by the missing tooth. This makes the tooth harder to clean, and therefore more likely to decay. The tooth also experiences different forces from the opposing teeth, leading to increased wear and tear and associated problems. Overeruption can also make future dental work to replace the missing tooth (such as dentures, bridges or implants) difficult to accomplish, as the original space is being reduced by the opposite tooth.
Similar to overeruption, if a tooth is missing, the teeth next to it can slowly move into the gap that is remaining, resulting in a tilted tooth. This can make it harder to chew on these teeth, and can affect the appearance of your smile. Tilting also makes these teeth much harder to clean, and therefore more likely to decay. The teeth can experience forces from the opposite teeth that they aren’t designed to. This puts these teeth at higher risk of requiring dental work. Tilting can also make replacing that missing tooth in time more difficult given the reduced space.
If you have a tooth that is causing you difficulties, your Floss Dentist can provide you with personalised guidance. Please contact our friendly team to organise a consultation at our Wellington Point or Victoria Point practice.