Drawing of an upper arch missing a front tooth

Do I Need to Replace a Missing Tooth?

March 31, 2022 5:18 am

By age 12-13, a patient will have 28 permanent teeth. These are the teeth that are supposed to last us for the rest of our life. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

There is a wide range of reasons why you might wind up with a gap in your smile as an adult. For example, an unexpected injury during a sports game or a serious tooth infection that requires an extraction can leave you with gap in your smile. If this ever happens to you, you might be wondering if you really need to replace the tooth after all, especially if it is a missing back tooth that no one will ever see.

What Can Happen If You Don’t Replace a Missing Tooth

Replacing a missing tooth isn’t just about appearances. Having a space in your smile can very well affect your self-confidence, and in turn negatively affect other areas of your life, but there’s more to it than that. If you don’t get some kind of tooth replacement, it can lead to some very real dental issues.

If there is a large gap where a tooth used to be, it’s possible that the nearby teeth will start shifting into that space. This is because our teeth are constantly shifting as we get older. That movement can result in your teeth becoming misaligned which affects esthetics as well as function. When you have tooth misalignment, it can cause problems with chewing and it can make it more difficult to keep all the surfaces of your teeth clean, increasing your risk of cavities. Gaps can also trap food and increase your risk of bad breath and gum disease. On top of all of that, the roots of our teeth help stimulate our jawbone, so if you have a missing tooth, it can contribute to bone loss in that area and subsequent facial sagging.

Tooth-Replacement Options

The good news is that there are many options these days for replacing teeth, whether it’s a single tooth or a whole row of teeth. For instance, dental implants are designed to look and feel very much like real teeth with biocompatible rod that is firmly anchored into your jawbone. There are also bridges, full dentures, and partial dentures, which have long been a proven way to get back to a full smile. Our dentist can help you determine the best option for you depending on how many teeth you’re missing, your lifestyle, and your budget.

For any other questions related to dental care, contact us at Lynn Lane Family Dentistry! We would love to help in any way that we can. We invite you to call our Broken Arrow practice to get in touch with a member of our team.

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Missing tooth image from Authority Dental under CC 2.0

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