Why You Shouldn’t Ignore a Missing Tooth

Cartoon of early settlers with missing teeth.
Image by Authority Dental under CC 2.0

While we all start out with 32 permanent teeth, many American adults are living with missing teeth. Injury, infection, and age can all take their toll. Although some people believe missing teeth are simply a cosmetic issue, it’s not quite that simple. Not only do missing teeth change the way you look, they can also impact your oral health.

How Do Missing Teeth Increase My Risk for Gum Disease?

That space where your missing tooth used to be isn’t just a reminder of what you lost – it’s actually a breeding ground for bacteria. It’s a place for leftover food to get stuck while you eat, which will, in turn, attract oral bacteria. Without diligent cleaning, bacteria could multiply and begin irritating your gums, leading to an early stage of gum disease.

Missing Teeth Can Upset the Balance in the Mouth

There’s a reason our mouths and teeth are structured a certain way. When one (or several) teeth are missing, it can throw the delicate balance out of whack. Your other teeth may start to shift to fill in the missing space. Over time, this can lead to serious malalignment. Missing teeth can also create changes in the density of your jaw bone which could change the profile of your face.

A Missing Tooth Can Change the Way You Eat

Even small changes in your mouth can affect how you chew. When you’re missing a tooth, your mouth will compensate by chewing differently. This could mean you end up only chewing on one side of the mouth, or that you otherwise change how you bite. Over time, these changes can lead to jaw pain and other serious issues.

What Is the Best Treatment for a Missing Tooth?

At Prairie Dental Group, we offer dental implants as the best treatment for most missing teeth. Dental implants look and function just like a normal tooth. To learn more about our restorative dentistry options or to ask our Eden Prairie team any questions, call our office today!

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