Losing a tooth can be a cosmetic disaster if it is a tooth that shows when you smile., but missing teeth anywhere in your mouth can also cause oral health problems that you may not be aware of. An open space where there used to be a tooth can start a chain reaction of dental problems that can lead to crooked teeth, oral hygiene issues and even jaw problems.
1. One lost tooth can lead to problems
When just one tooth is lost, the foundation of your teeth is weakened. Other teeth can begin to shift out of place, beginning with the teeth that surround the space where the missing tooth used to be. If you lose a tooth in the back of your mouth and do not replace it, several years down the road you may find yourself with crooked teeth. Oral hygiene becomes complicated by missing teeth because cleaning gapped or crooked teeth can be difficult. Food particles left behind are a primary cause of gum disease, which can lead to tooth decay and the loss of more teeth.
2. TMJ disorder
Temporomandibular joint disorder can be caused by missing teeth or a misaligned bite. The jaws are designed to handle chewing action when the teeth are properly aligned. When they are not, extra stress is put on the jaw joints and muscles. TMJ disorder has painful symptoms including headaches, neck pain and even back pain.
3. Sleep problems
In addition to pain, TMJ disorder can affect your sleep. A misaligned bite can contribute to sleep apnea or snoring by causing you to hold your mouth in a position that lets your tongue fall back and block the air passageway.
The best way to replace a missing tooth
Problems caused by a missing tooth can be avoided by having the tooth replaced. Dentures involve wires or adhesive to hold them in place, and at one time, this inconvenience was the only way to replace a missing tooth. Today there is a better way. Dental implants are almost permanent tooth replacement option. Implants become a permanent part of your jaw through a process known as osseointegration. They function almost exactly like natural teeth, and there are no special cleaners or dental products required for them.
If you would like to learn more about missing teeth, why they should be replaced and why implants are the next best thing to your natural teeth, call your Beverly dentist for a consultation appointment. Implants work best to replace teeth that have been recently lost, so if you already have missing teeth, make the call now.