missing teeth

Long-Term Effects Of Missing Teeth: What You Need To Know

March 17, 2024

While it is normal to lose baby teeth during childhood, the permanent loss of adult teeth can severely impact oral health. Missing teeth can create a domino effect of issues in your mouth. Just removing one original tooth can cause more long-term damage.

While tooth loss is normal as you grow in childhood, losing teeth can happen to any adult for a number of reasons:

  • Injuries: Sudden tooth loss is very commonly due to injuries or accidents. One single impact to the mouth can do enough to knock a tooth out permanently. This is why wearing a mouthguard is so important when playing any sport. Still, they are not always perfect and need to be fitted correctly. Many accidents happen in non-contact sports where athletes are not required to wear mouthguards.
  • Gum Disease and Tooth Decay: Periodontitis is a severe gum disease that can progress without pain, even to its later damaging stages. By not visiting your dentist regularly or properly taking care of your teeth, you could be closer to losing a tooth than you’d think. The inner layer of bone and your gums start to recede from your teeth when suffering from periodontitis, which causes pockets that can become infected. Over time, this can cause a tooth to become loose and gums unable to support the teeth, causing them to fall out or need extraction.

Damaging Effects Of Missing Teeth

By failing to replace a missing tooth, you can suffer from long-term negative effects on your dental and overall health. Missing teeth can change the shape of your face and impact your appearance. Additionally, you can become more prone to periodontal disease, as mentioned above. You may think tooth loss is the end of an injury or poor dental care, but the long-term effects of not replacing a tooth go much further than losing the tooth itself.

Teeth Shift Over Time

While it may be good for someone looking to straighten their smile, teeth can shift and are not permanently set in place. This is not ideal for those who fail to replace a tooth, as the rest of your teeth can shift significantly now that there is a gap between your existing teeth. Your teeth drift to close the gap, and even beyond cosmetically altering your smile’s appearance, shifted teeth can negatively impact your bite and chewing ability. Any new and unusual pressure on your teeth can make your teeth much more susceptible to cracks or fractures.

Permanent Bone Loss

One of the more severe consequences of not replacing a missing tooth is the permanent bone loss that can occur. This leads to the jaw not receiving the stimulation it needs to stay healthy and in working order. Muscles will break down over time when they are not worked enough, which also applies to bone tissue. Resorption occurs after atrophy, and the loss of bone tissue severely impacts a person’s ability to move their jaw. Over time, this can also cause discomfort in the jaw. Dentures and bridges do not help in the same way as dental implants because of the lack of jawbone stimulation.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a common cause of tooth loss, but a missing tooth can also cause periodontal disease. Any large gaps from missing teeth can harbor bacteria and thrive. This can spread to your gums, causing inflammation, leading to gum disease, and even spreading to other teeth nearby. As the teeth shift to close the gap from the missing tooth, existing bacteria can become trapped and not be brushed or flossed away. This means you can eventually worsen your gum disease and tooth decay without replacing a tooth.

Increased Future Costs

Two of the most common reasons people visit a dentist are tooth decay and gum disease. When you are missing teeth, you are more vulnerable to both of these issues and end up paying more in the future to get treatment for these problems. Gum disease is most commonly responsible for tooth loss, so those who fail to get missing teeth replaced are more prone to losing more teeth. Gum disease also is linked to more serious health issues like heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease.

Replace Missing Teeth With Dr. Muzny

It can feel overwhelming to replace teeth, especially if you already have anxiety surrounding the dentist in general. While it can be easy to put off, it can cost you in the long run if you fail to replace missing teeth. 

If you are looking for an experienced dentist to help replace any teeth, visit us at the offices of Dr. Carrie Muzny, DDS. We offer virtual consults for those with busy schedules or take appointments at our office in The Woodlands. We help clients from Benders Landing, Woodforest, Spring, and North Houston to the Conroe/Montgomery area. We want to help you create good oral health practices and give you a healthy, dazzling smile. Contact us today to schedule an online consultation or visit our office.

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