Unless you’re a child, losing a tooth can be devastating. Tooth loss occurs due to a number of reasons including decay, periodontal disease, and trauma. So, what happens if you don’t replace a missing tooth?
First and foremost, bone loss occurs at the source of the missing tooth, and over time, the jaw bone deteriorates. This deterioration is referred to as bone resorption, and without the stimulation from the roots of the teeth, it’s irreversible.
Neighboring teeth try to move into the space of the missing tooth. The teeth on either side of the space and the tooth above the space will, over a period, try to move into the open space. Although the movement takes many years, once the teeth have shifted, getting them back into their original spaces without Orthodontics isn’t possible.
You may lose the ability to eat certain foods depending on which tooth is extracted resulting in changes in nutrition levels. It may become difficult to bite and chew certain foods and can also lead to overuse of the remaining teeth to compensate for the void.
If the missing tooth is in the front of the mouth, it can impact your speech and ability to pronounce certain words. You may develop a Lisp forcing you to avoid speaking in certain situations. This can impact your social and professional life and can be very distressing.
The good news is that there are many options for replacing a missing tooth and they range in price making it affordable for most patients. The most important thing to do when you lose a tooth is to communicate with your dentist to find out what your options are and prevent these obstacles from negatively impacting your life.