There are many things that can cause someone to lose one or more permanent teeth.
Reasons can range from gum diseases to injuries to dental caries, and even bone loss conditions. Many people believe that missing teeth is merely an aesthetic issue and would not consider replacing them unless they are the front teeth.
However, the appearance factor should not be the only reason for replacing your missing teeth.
Left untreated, your missing teeth can lead to a host of problems and dental complications down the road. It can cause changes in speech, bone loss, improper bites, gum recession, gum infection and other oral ailments.
We’ll discuss them in a bit more detail.
Dangers of migrating teeth
Gaps created by your missing teeth can cause their surrounding teeth to drift into the vacated space. Once moved from their original positions, the teeth become misaligned and the bite quality deteriorates.
When your teeth are no longer properly aligned, it makes chewing and biting more difficult. When teeth drift from their original positions, their roots also become destabilized and loosened, making them prone to damage and falling out.
Migrating teeth can also lead to your teeth overlapping. This would create pockets of space that are difficult to clean, resulting in plaque development, cavities and gum diseases.
If this persists over a long period, even the bone that used to support your missing teeth can start to erode – this process is known as bone resorption.
Left untreated, bone resorption can affect the jawbone area and cause the loosening of the neighbouring teeth.
Other perplexing dental problems caused by missing teeth
Besides causing your teeth to drift and affect your dental balance, missing teeth can also cause the following problems:
Improper bite – When you are missing one or more teeth, it can affect your dental bite and even cause your jaw to move in an unnatural way. Your missing teeth can cause an unbalanced bite that makes you start to grind your teeth subconsciously. This teeth-grinding habit can wear out or even break your teeth. In more serious cases, it may even develop into bone issues like Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD).
Bone resorption – Your jawbone mass is maintained through stimulation that comes from biting and chewing. When one or more teeth go missing, it creates a void that removes the required stimulation for the supportive bone mass. As with the migrating tooth, this can also result in bone resorption.
If your missing tooth causes discomfort when you bite or chew, it will over time make you less willing to eat certain types of food – for example, favouring softer over chewy foods. Over time, this can lead to a compromised diet such that your body misses out on important nutrients that comes with a well-balanced diet.
Altered facial appearance
Besides a gap in your smile, there is another aesthetic factor that many people forget when they think about missing teeth.
Do you know that your teeth plays an important role in propping up your facial structure? Conversely, missing teeth can lead to sunken cheeks and a droopy facial countenance, which can make you look older than you really are.