Why You Should Never Ignore a Missing Tooth

Did you know that gaps between your teeth can cause you to develop serious dental issues?

A missing tooth is a common occurrence, affecting at least 178 million Americans. However, many of us don’t address the problem unless it impacts the way our smile looks. 

Unfortunately, a missing tooth is more than an aesthetic issue. A “harmless” gap can actually cause your teeth to shift and increase your risk of bone loss and gum disease.

Here at Dallas Dental Concierge in Dallas, Texas, Dr. Melisa Christian performs oral surgery to fix gaps in your smile with dental implants. If you’re undecided about whether you should ignore your missing tooth, keep reading to educate yourself on the risks.

Early jawbone loss 

By now, you’ve probably heard that good stress (from exercise) on your bones prevents early bone deterioration and fractures as you age. The same principle applies to your jawbone. 

When you chew, you apply stress on your jawbone. This stimulates your bone and enables it to stay strong and healthy for longer.

When you have gaps between your teeth, portions of your jawbone aren’t stimulated at all. Also, your remaining teeth must work harder to chew food to compensate for the missing teeth, worsening the imbalance. 

Crooked teeth 

Your teeth are positioned close to each other. When you have a gap between your teeth, the teeth closest to the gap tend to move towards it. 

This causes a domino effect, as other teeth will start shifting too. Before you know it, you're dealing with a misalignment. 

Higher risk for developing TMJ disorder

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder affects the joint that connects the skull to the jaw. Having missing teeth can negatively impact this joint because it causes teeth to shift and put unequal pressure on some parts of your jaw. 

Over time, having overworked jaw muscles can lead to chronic pain, locking of the jaw, and tension headaches. 

Altered facial features 

Your teeth provide stimulation for your jaw to stay strong, as well as structural support for your mouth, lips, and parts of your cheeks. If you’re missing several teeth, your cheeks may shrink over time, and you may begin to notice premature lines around your mouth. 

Prevent the complications of a missing tooth

Dental implants are a great way to prevent complications. They can stimulate your jaw, and they can also prevent bone loss and any changes to your face shape or the alignment of your teeth. 

With dental implants, you can replace one missing tooth or an entire mouthful, as long as you have enough bone mass to support the implants. Plus, implants can last a lifetime with minor adjustments. 

If you live in or near Dallas, Texas, and want to avoid the complications mentioned above, contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Christian for expert advice.

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