A Missing Tooth Disrupts Positions Of Other Teeth

Posted on Jun 13, 2016 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Being in a periodontal specialty, a particular part of my expertise involves the diagnosis and placement of Dental Implants. While periodontal (gum) disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss, there is another contributing factor that many people are unaware.

The position of each tooth has unique importance to neighboring tooth. Primarily, one tooth helps to hold adjacent teeth in place. This means that when one tooth is lost and not replaced, the teeth on both sides are also left without a bolstering neighbor. This gap enables neighboring teeth to move out of their proper positions.

Just one missing tooth can lead to many future problems.

Just one missing tooth can lead to many future problems.

Because an open space allows a tooth above or below to grow longer or the teeth on each side to tilt, a long list of problems are set into motion. The teeth that grow longer or tilt typically cause chips, cracks or fractures to other teeth since the bite is now out of alignment. When a tooth fractures below the gum line, it will require removal. This results in a whole net set of expenses and problems.

When a tooth is missing, it also leads to the potential shifting of other teeth. This shifting can result in crowded, crooked teeth that are more difficult to keep clean. Imagine how much more challenging it is to sweep and mop the floor in corners than it is along straight surfaces. Your tooth brush has far more challenges trying to get into tight angles.

Bite misalignment can even lead to worn teeth since it can lead to night-time clenching and grinding. This is typically due to strain on the TMJ (jaw joints) from the now-misaligned bite. Clenching or grinding during sleep can contribute to frequent headaches, migraines, sore jaw joints, facial and neck muscle pain, ear ringing and dizziness.

The open space from the missing tooth leads to yet another ordeal. Without natural tooth roots in the jaw, the bone that once held the root begins to shrink. As the bone in this area declines in mass, bordering tooth roots are now vulnerable to a shrinking foundation of bone. It is a fact that a missing tooth leaves an adjacent tooth most likely to be lost next.

When you consider all these issues, it’s no surprise that the result is a number of dental repairs and costs. The easiest way to avoid problems and associated expenses when a tooth is lost is to replace the tooth with a Dental Implant.

Dental Implants recreate the presence of tooth roots in the jaw bone. This helps to prevent bone loss from a declining jaw that occurs when tooth roots are no longer present. The replaced tooth also helps surrounding teeth to hold their proper positions, greatly reducing the potential for chips, cracks and the barrage of problems associated with bite misalignment.

Although Dental Implants are initially more expensive than most other tooth replacement options, the investment is a one-time expense. Dental Implants do not decay and are designed to last your lifetime. They also have one of the highest success rates of all implant-in-bone treatments.

And, unlike crown-&-bridge combinations, an implant will halt further bone loss. It will never need adjacent natural teeth to be crowned to support replacement teeth. Dental Implants are held in the jaw bone, just as natural tooth roots, and do not need other teeth for support. Overall, they are an ideal investment for replacing one tooth, several teeth or a full arch.

If you are missing one or more natural teeth, call us at 828-274-9440. We will explain the process and advantages of Dental Implants so you can make the decision that is right for you.

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