Missing Teeth and Your Long-Term Health

Dr. Day can treat a wide range of facial injuries at our Phoenix, AZ practice. From broken jaws to lacerations, he is ready to provide emergency treatment using the latest techniques and technology. While these types of facial trauma are certainly serious, a knocked out tooth can also have drastic consequences for your dental health and overall wellness. All too often, patients do not seek treatment for these injuries, especially if they are missing a back tooth that does not show when they smile. However, without proper care, you could experience a host of problems that will affect your appearance and quality of life.

Dental Alignment

Each tooth plays an important role in your bite alignment, and it helps to keep the surrounding teeth in place. When you have a missing tooth, your other teeth will shift to fill in the gap. Over time, you could experience widespread misalignment. Your severely crooked teeth will, of course, affect your appearance. However, they can also increase your risk for decay. Improperly aligned teeth are harder to access. Therefore, food and bacteria can accumulate in your mouth more easily.
Additionally, each tooth helps to keep the corresponding top or bottom tooth in place. When you are missing a tooth, the matching tooth on the opposite dental arch will grow up or down to fill in the space. In time, your tooth could literally grow right out of its socket!

TMJ Disorder

Missing teeth and dental misalignment can significantly affect the balance of your bite. When your teeth do not line up properly, it puts an uneven amount of strain on your jaw. As a result, your jaw joints could become damaged. Additionally, the surrounding ligaments and tissue may become inflamed. This damage or inflammation, known as TMJ Disorder, can cause significant discomfort. Symptoms of TMD include jaw pain, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and tinnitus, among many other things.

Bone Recession

You may be surprised to learn that missing teeth can cause jawbone degeneration. This is why people with a full set of removable dentures often have a “sunken” look to their mouths and cheeks. Each time your teeth touch when you are eating or speaking, the dental root sends a regenerative signal to the nearby bone cells. When even one tooth is missing, the number of signals decreases significantly. As a result, your bone will start to shrink, affecting your facial structure. On top of that, when your bone shrinks, you may lose even more teeth, compounding this vicious cycle.

Treatment Options

If you have missing teeth, due to facial injury or decay, you have several treatment options to choose from. Traditional bridges and removable dentures will replace your missing teeth. However, although these restorations can prevent misalignment and TMD, they cannot protect your jawbone health. For greater protection, as well as enhanced stability and a lifelike appearance, you may want to consider dental implants. Dr. Day will place these small posts inside your jawbone. During a process called osseointegration, your bone and gums will heal around these posts. In this way, they can replace your dental roots. When healing is complete, Dr. Day will attach a crown, bridge, or denture to the top of the posts.

Protect Your Oral Health

Do not let facial injuries affect your smile and oral-systemic health. Contact Dr. Day’s office to learn more about dental implants and our other advanced treatment options.

Comments Off