I have a missing tooth; do I need to do anything about it?
A missing tooth causes problems: is unsightly: is bad for general health
If you’re missing a tooth then replacing it is in your best interest for your long-term health. While there are few immediate effect of tooth loss—other than the gap between two teeth—the long-term effects can be as extreme as further tooth loss.
A missing tooth causes problems
Let’s take a step back. Why have you lost the tooth? If your tooth loss is from an accident then replacing the tooth can be fairly straight forward. However, if you have lost a tooth because of periodontitis (severe gum disease) then this changes how you will be treated. The reason being your gum disease would have to be managed prior to treatment. Otherwise it can lead to complication with treatment.
The problem that a missing tooth causes has to do with your remaining teeth, your gums and jaw.
Each tooth is ‘held’ in place by a particular part of the jawbone called the alveolar bone. When you lose a tooth there is nothing to stimulate the alveolar bone which then causes it to atrophy (shrink). Once the alveolar bone atrophies, it will not grow back. And it starts atrophying as soon as you lose a tooth. That is why you should replace a missing tooth as soon as possible. Because if you wait too long this jawbone atrophy continues and it starts to affect the alveolar bone around other teeth and you could lose other teeth. When you lose a tooth the teeth on either side will start to shift trying to close the gap left by the missing tooth: which causes crooked teeth and can affect your bite. A misaligned bite can result in headaches, difficulty chewing as well as neck and shoulder pain.
Why you should replace a missing tooth
It’s easy to shrug off a missing tooth. A staggering number of Americans between the ages of 20-65 have at least one missing tooth. And besides what’s one missing tooth when you’ve got so many more? The problem is that one missing tooth causes other problems. By replacing one missing tooth early on you can prevent a swathe of oral and general health problems. With dental implant treatment your jaw, gums and remaining teeth are taken care of. The dental implant replaces the tooth root, which helps your jawbone. The dental implant crown then helps to restore chewing function and lessen the chances of crooked teeth.
Dental implant treatment and your health
It is important to remember how your oral health can affect your general health. Gum disease has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and chronic kidney disease. A crooked bite can cause headaches, neck and shoulder pain. Multiple missing teeth means you aren’t necessarily able to chew your food as well which can cause digestive problems. By replacing a tooth you are able to help maintain not only your oral health but help to maintain your general health as well. At Curtis Couch DDS in Thousand Oaks offers a range of dental health treatments from fillings to dental implants. If you are missing a tooth then please contact us at our Thousand Oaks dental practice today.