More Smiles Dental Spa Dentistry Blog | James A. Moreau, Jr., D.D.S.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Why Replace a Missing Tooth

When my grandparents grew up in rural Mississippi 100 years ago, their concept of dental care was that when a tooth got rotten enough and caused enough pain, you pulled it. When they were all gone, you got dentures. They had no idea that the loss of even a single tooth begins a succession of decline and probably hastened the loss of other teeth.

Today, while some people are still naive about tooth replacement, many more people understand and are educated about the importance of taking care of and keeping your teeth for as long as possible. And when one is lost, a wise consumer will not delay in seeking help to replace the tooth.

When a tooth is missing, the underlying bone begins to shrink and recede since there is no live nerve and root structure to be supporteed. The blood supply to that area is diminished. Loss of bone is easily visible on dental x-rays.

Also, the tooth that was opposite (above or below) the lost tooth, will begin to extrude itself into the newly opened space, putting it at risk also. And, as if that were not enough, the teeth in front of and behind the missing tooth will begin to drift into the open space. As they move into the space, a chain reaction begins as all the teeth begin to shift to fill in the open space. As a result, they no longer come together properly when biting down, causing excessive wear and tear on the surfaces of the teeth. Ever noticed someone who had really flat teeth that were straight all across the bottoms?

There are a number of ways to replace that missing tooth and prevent all this resulting mayhem in the mouth. Dental implants are a very good solution in most cases to replace a missing tooth, restore the aesthetics of your smile and hang onto the bone structure to prevent the bone from resorbing and shrinking away. Permanent bridges are also still used, and removable appliances are also an option though sometimes awkward and less than ideal.

Delaying tooth replacement too long can allow so much bone loss that an implant is no longer a good option and delaying can allow problems to compound themselves, creating a more complex and more expensive set of issues.

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posted by MoreSmiles at 8:45 PM


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