If you’ve lost one or more teeth, you may be wondering what will happen to your mouth. Do you need to have your teeth replaced right away? What happens if you don’t replace your missing teeth? Is it okay to live without one or two of your teeth? In this blog from Brightside Family Dental, we’ll explore a few things that may happen to your mouth after tooth loss, and explain why tooth replacement is so important.
Your teeth work together to keep each other in place. One of the reasons they don’t move around is that they’re all tightly packed together, and there are no gaps that the teeth can shift into.
But after you lose a tooth, this is no longer the case. The nearby teeth will no longer be held in place, and will naturally shift toward the now-empty socket to try to fill up the space. This can change the alignment of your teeth and your smile, and make it more difficult to replace your missing tooth in the future.
Normally, your tooth stimulates the jawbone. The root of each tooth reaches deeply into the bone, and the pressure of biting and chewing keeps the bone strong. But once you lose a tooth, this no longer happens. The jawbone is no longer stimulated, so it will start to deteriorate. It’s possible to lose up to 25% of bone mass within a year of tooth loss.
This can lead to changes in your facial structure, especially if you've lost multiple adjacent missing teeth. Bone loss will also make it harder to get a dental implant in the future. You may need a bone graft to strengthen the area enough for an implant. This adds more time, cost, and complexity to the implant placement procedure.
The extent of this depends on how many teeth you’ve lost, and where you’ve lost them. If you’ve lost a few front teeth, for example, you may not be able to effectively bite and tear chunks off of foods like steak. Or, if you’ve lost some of your rear teeth, it may be harder to eat tough, fibrous vegetables. Losing the ability to eat your favorite foods is definitely something you want to avoid.
Beyond the health effects of tooth loss, you may find that you feel less confident about how you look. Missing teeth can make you feel embarrassed and self-conscious. You may try to hide your teeth when you smile, laugh, or eat.
Your speech can be affected, too, especially if you’ve lost front teeth. Your tongue works with your front teeth to make lots of sounds, particularly the “S” sound. If you’ve lost some teeth, your speech may sound “slushy,” and be a bit harder to understand.
As you can see from the list above, it’s important to replace your missing teeth. And to help you restore your health, your confidence, and your lifestyle, you should have your tooth replaced as soon as possible at Brightside Family Dental.
Dr. Manish Mistry specializes in full mouth rehabilitation and treatments such as dental implants and dentures. Are you ready to explore your options, find the treatment that’s right for you, and restore your smile? Just give us a call at (919) 391-0046 or contact us online to get started.