Any missing tooth is a problem. You might be down one molar or you may have a visible front tooth knocked out. Gum disease might be behind the tooth loss or one bad infection could have led to the extraction of a few teeth in one section of your mouth. No matter the circumstances, it’s not just missing teeth that are a problem – it’s all the side effects that follow.
1. Sleep Bruxism
If you’ve never had a problem with grinding and clenching your teeth, missing teeth could easily cause sleep bruxism to develop. This painful condition contributes to serious oral health issues like gum recession and damaged dental work while also causing chronic headaches, jaw pain, and ringing ears.
Bruxism typically occurs during sleep, meaning sufferers wake with discomfort. It’s wise to have teeth grinding addressed right away, especially if you have one or more missing teeth, and get a customized night guard to stop the unconscious habit.
2. Enamel Erosion
When you don’t have all your teeth in all the right places, the top and bottom teeth will rub and hit against each other in unnatural ways and some teeth will try to make up for the absence of a neighbor. Eventually, side effects can include serious oral health problems like enamel erosion. (Also a side effect of sleep bruxism above.) When enamel is worn away, teeth are no longer fully protected and susceptible to bacteria and food and eventually develop cavities or infections.
Just one missing tooth can cause teeth to fall out of alignment and contribute to a bad bite. If you went through months or years of orthodontic treatment as an adolescent or adult, the last thing you want to do is allow one missing tooth destroy all that hard work and a beautiful, straight smile. Your cosmetic dentist is likely to recommend replacing your missing tooth with a dental implant and, if needed, do a brief course of Invisalign to realign your teeth.
4. Facial Collapse
It won’t happen immediately but, over time, any absences of teeth and their roots can lead to facial collapse. The result of the jawbone shrinking is a shrunken look, thanks to the face and jaw changes that alter the shape of the face.
This side effect makes a person look much older than they are. The best way to manage it is by replacing the missing teeth – and the most effective replacement option is dental implants. The implant itself replaces the missing tooth root, stimulates the jawbone, and strengthens nearby teeth so they are not lost.
Replace Missing Teeth in Rye, NY
There are several ways to replace missing teeth, including permanent dental implants, a dental bridge, or partial dentures. Your Rye, NY, dental team will guide you in determining the best solution for your oral health complications. Remember that having all your teeth is a critical part of good oral health, and there is always a solution that can replace what’s missing in your smile. Contact Dr. Chi Fu at Chester Hill Dentistry to make an appointment.