What happens if you don’t fix a missing tooth?

Losing a tooth is more than a cosmetic issue. A missing tooth can affect the entirety of your smile, impacting everything from your jaw health to the positioning of your remaining teeth. Here are just some of the issues that can arise if you lose a tooth and don’t promptly seek to have the tooth replaced with an option such as a dental implant.

Changes to speech and diet

Losing a tooth can affect how you eat, drink, and even speak. You may favor the spot with the missing tooth, causing extra wear on the surrounding or opposite teeth. Depending on where in the mouth the missing tooth is, you might develop a lisp or slur your words. This may affect your self-image and social interactions.  

Gum health and surrounding tooth issues

A missing tooth can have a domino effect on your oral health. Bacteria may enter the gum area, causing potential infection. Neighboring teeth that no longer have the support of the missing tooth may also begin to shift in your mouth. They may also be more prone to damage without the protection of their missing neighbor. The result of this can be additional tooth, jaw or bite issues. 

Jaw health problems

Your teeth exist as part of a dental ecosystem. A missing tooth affects not just the health of your bite, but of your entire jaw. Over time, the jawbone beneath the missing tooth will weaken and deteriorate; you may also experience temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues. If you have multiple missing teeth, you may find that the overall structure of your mouth is compromised, and your mouth and cheeks begin to look sunken and hollow. 

More challenging treatment

If you don’t fix a missing tooth in a timely manner, you may find that future dental treatment becomes more complex and involved. For example, you may need braces or Invisalign to correct shifting teeth, or you may need an intervention to help restore jaw or gum health. Quickly acting to replace a missing tooth with an option such as a dental implant can help prevent these issues.  

Missing tooth? Talk to Optimal Dental Center about Dental Implants

If you’re missing a tooth – or teeth – talk to Optimal Dental Center about your treatment possibilities. Dental implants may be an option for replacing one or more missing teeth while helping maintain your bite as well as gum and jaw health. For more information about tooth implants, get in touch today!