The loss of a permanent adult tooth sets off a series of dental events. Even though these events don't take place immediately, or even that quickly, the loss of a single tooth can have a destructive effect on your oral health. So what are these effects, and what's the best way to prevent them from happening?
Each tooth in your mouth fulfils a specific function. Generally speaking, the teeth at the front of your mouth (anterior teeth) grip and rip pieces of food. The teeth at the back of your mouth (posterior teeth) chew food, processing it for swallowing. A missing tooth forces the surrounding teeth to pick up the slack. This accelerates tooth wear, as these teeth must replace the function of the missing tooth.
Tooth wear isn't a generic term, and a precise index has been developed to chart its progress. At the higher levels of this index, the tooth in question may no longer be restorable (and must be extracted). Additionally, the positions of the teeth surrounding the missing tooth may shift.
A missing tooth creates an empty dental socket, better known as a gap. The lack of a tooth means that there is no physical barrier preventing teeth on either side from tilting into the gap, and this is precisely what happens. The cascading effect (as all the teeth in your dental arch begin to change their angle) can lead to crooked teeth, which may then require orthodontic alignment. As their angles shift, the contact points between teeth (where they come into physical contact with their neighbours) may similarly shift. This can make properly cleaning your teeth difficult. When coupled with accelerated tooth wear, these shifting contact points can expedite tooth decay.
A quick replacement of the missing tooth is the most appropriate course of action and will prevent the catastrophic long-term side effects of a missing tooth. Dental implants offer the best standard of permanent tooth replacement. The implant is a titanium alloy screw surgically placed in your jaw. The bone then heals around it, and the implant is ready to serve as a tooth root. A realistic ceramic tooth can then be connected to the implant, and this tooth will have the same bite force as a natural tooth.
Failing to replace a missing permanent tooth encourages a range of serious dental issues in the future, which can be time-consuming and costly to correct. It's healthier and kinder for your teeth to replace a missing tooth with an implant as soon as possible.
For more info about dental implants, contact a local professional.