A gap in a line of teeth has become a common sight now thanks to hockey, jumbotrons, and television. As a risk often associated with sports activities, missing teeth have somewhat become a badge of honor for those with skates, sticks, and cleats. Besides sports trauma, a missing tooth can also result from old age or gum disease.
When you do lose a tooth, it can become easy to live life without it. You get used to your tongue fitting through the gap and chewing with the other side of your mouth. Sometimes, you even forget it’s there. Although it’s not on your mind nor is it bugging you, that tooth needs to get replaced.
What Happens When You Don’t Replace a Missing Tooth?
When you’ve lost a tooth, it’s imperative that you get it fixed because it can cause serious problems to your mouth and your face. One of the biggest problems you can have is bone resorption also known as bone loss. Once a tooth has been gone for a long time, the roots of the tooth that are embedded in your jawbone are no longer needed. As a result, your jawbone will begin to deteriorate. When this happens, you are at a greater risk of losing more teeth.
When your jawbone starts to deteriorate, your facial appearance will transform too, and not for the better. A missing tooth can cause a sagging look that makes you appear older than your actual age. If you have a gap in the front of your mouth, your lips can also appear sunken and asymmetrical. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you need to get your tooth replaced pronto.
Related: What is Emergency Dental Care?
A gap in your smile will also affect your eating habits. Do you enjoy hard, crunchy snacks like apples? You won’t with a missing tooth. With a gap, you’ll have a reduced ability to eat certain kinds of food. It will also be difficult to bite and chew some foods depending on which tooth you’re missing. Because of this fact, a missing tooth can lead to poor nutrition and in extreme cases diminished health. To compensate for what you’re lacking, you’ll likely overuse other teeth, which can lead to more problems.
A missing tooth has the potential to cause malocclusion or crowded teeth. Misaligned teeth can be problematic as the teeth around the gap tend to shift towards each other to fill the space. While this sounds like a solution, it can cause the opposing teeth to supererupt. When that occurs, you may find you have an increased sensitivity to temperature and sweets.
Societal Drawbacks of Missing Teeth
The problems we’ve discussed have been of an oral nature, but this one is purely personal. Having missing teeth can drastically impact your self-esteem and confidence. If the space in your smile is particularly noticeable, you may find yourself starting to avoid smiling and eating in public, as well as being sociable, which can greatly impact your social life and job. A missing tooth can introduce new obstacles to your career path and relationship status, which can lower your self-esteem if you face round after round of rejection. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 75% of people believe having an unattractive smile negatively affects professional advancement. To keep yourself confident, replacing the tooth is your best option.
A perfect smile is made imperfect by gum disease, trauma, and old age, all of which can cause a gap in your smile. When you leave the gap for a long period, you could have some serious jaw, malocclusion, bone loss, and eating problems. To avoid suffering physically and mentally, get your missing tooth replaced today.