Having a tooth fall out or pulled isn't a pleasant experience for anyone. Unfortunately, it's often not known by those who lose a tooth that refraining from getting it fixed can make the situation even worse. If you're missing one or more teeth and haven't gotten them replaced, keep reading to discover the three side effects you could be putting your oral health through by making that decision.
Teeth play a big part in keeping the jaw strong and healthy. The body has a built-in mechanism that strengthens bones when you apply pressure or weight upon them. This is the same concept that strengthens bones when people with osteoporosis lift weights. The same mechanism is also true of the jaw.
When you have all of your teeth, every bite you take transfers pressure through the teeth into the jaw bone, which helps to strengthen it. When a tooth is lost, part of the pressure isn't properly transmitted, which can lead to your jaw weakening by as much as 25% in a single year.
Teeth are very strong, but they're designed to take equal amounts of pressure. When your jaw is properly aligned and you have all of your teeth, the pressure of your bite is spread across all of your teeth. When you're missing one or more teeth, the remaining teeth undergo additional strain that they ordinarily wouldn't.
In the long-term, this strain can cause damage to your surviving teeth. Enamel may become damaged, and teeth can be worn down or become chipped. To make matters worse, your surviving teeth could also become misaligned since the missing tooth is no longer holding its neighboring teeth in their proper places.
Risk of Gum Disease
Lastly, the risk of gum disease increases when you have a missing tooth that isn't replaced.
When a tooth is pulled or falls out, a pocket of open space remains where the hidden part of the tooth and its root once were under your gums. This pocket can easily become a breeding ground of dental bacteria that's responsible for gum disease. Once gum disease is in the pocket, it's nearly impossible to beat at home and requires a dentist's attention.
Losing a tooth doesn't have to drastically change the look of your teeth and the health of your gums. It's never too late to get a dental implant to replace your missing teeth. Since dental implants restore most of the functionality of a real tooth and help to distribute pressure to the jaw bone, you can avoid all of these problems just by getting a dental implant installed where your tooth used to be.