At the offices of John D. Stark, DDS, we understand that certain parts of the dental world can sometimes be tough to grasp for our clients. Some may not understand the exact purpose or procedure of a root canal, for instance, or maybe you’ve never quite understood what dental X-rays are for – our staff is happy to explain any and all procedures to you.
One area that some patients often ask about is dental implants. In particular, some of our patients often wonder why they need these in the first place – if a missing tooth isn’t causing any direct discomfort and the person dealing with it doesn’t mind, what’s so important about getting a replacement implant?
As it turns out, though, there are several reasons why this is vital. Not immediately replacing a missing tooth can lead to the following issues:
As you develop from childhood into adulthood, your jaw grows in a manner specifically meant to hold and properly operate 28 teeth. These teeth function symbiotically – if one of them is removed or falls out, the others begin to shift into that space to ensure everything is covered.
This can quickly throw all your teeth out of alignment. It can lead to bite issues due to the upper and lower jaws not meeting properly, and can also damage the joint in the jaw over time. It may also lead to tooth eruptions and major sensitivity to temperature or sweet items.
Another issue with tooth shifting is the way it can make certain teeth in the mouth harder to reach during brushing or flossing, which leads to increased bacteria formation and resulting tooth decay. In addition, that open space where your tooth is missing will serve as a breeding ground for bacteria to grow and spread around.
We may not always think of it this way, but the mouth and teeth are part of the digestive system – in fact, they’re the part of the system that kicks everything off. Missing teeth can change the effectiveness of your chewing which can in turn affect the way you digest food. Many people with missing teeth that aren’t replaced develop acid reflux or other digestive issues.
If the missing tooth is in the wrong area of your mouth, it could cause immediate speech issues. You may begin to slur or lisp certain words or sounds as your tongue becomes confused about forming speech patterns that involvecontact with the teeth. You may also find yourself spitting far more often.
Finally, a missing tooth can even affect the way you look. The roots of your teeth are vital for bone development – every chew you make with your jaw stimulates the root structure and bone. But if you lose a tooth, that bone begins to deteriorate, often leading to major issues of a sunken appearance on the face. In addition to this, you may notice decreasing jaw function.
For more on why missing teeth need to be replaced, or to learn about any of our family dentist services, speak to the pros at the offices of John D. Stark, DDS today.