Your oral health depends on a complete set of teeth. One or more missing teeth can have severe consequences for your oral health. One lost tooth may even impact your overall well-being by introducing harmful bacteria into your bloodstream if you have gum disease. There are various ways to restore your smile, such as dental implants, dental bridges and implant-supported bridges. However, dental implants are typically the ideal way to restore a single missing tooth at Village Center Dentistry in San Diego.
Your missing tooth creates more than a cosmetic concern with your smile. These oral health concerns include:
1) Shifting Teeth
The sooner you replace a lost tooth, the better. After you lose a tooth, your remaining teeth will start to shift to fill the gap. When the adjacent teeth move to accommodate the hole, your smile starts to change, causing crooked teeth and a misaligned bite. Crooked teeth are more challenging to care for and likely to trap and collect bacteria, putting you at risk of tooth decay and gum disease. An improper bite can lead to teeth grinding and increased wear on your remaining teeth and may lead to a TMJ disorder.
2) Bone Recession
A healthy jawbone relies on the pressure of a tooth and root system when you bite down. Without that stimulation, the bone’s integrity suffers and degrades, losing its shape and volume. The jawbone loses an estimated 25 percent during the first year after losing the tooth and worsens over time. Just one missing tooth can destabilize your entire jaw structure.
3) More Tooth Loss
One missing tooth often paves the way for more tooth loss. This can occur for many reasons such as worsening gum disease, tooth decay or a mouth injury but also because the teeth moving to fill in the gap created by the lost tooth are at risk. The first tooth lost can create a domino effect if you don’t replace it and address the underlying cause.
4) Sunken Facial Shape
As your jawbone shrinks and your teeth shift, your overall face may change shape. People missing one or more teeth often have a sunken facial profile, which only worsens the longer you wait to replace the tooth. These changes can prematurely age your appearance and affect your self-confidence.
5) Food Limitations and Difficulty Speaking Clearly
Many people avoid foods that are difficult to chew when they lose a tooth. Large pieces of food may get stuck in the gap or be difficult to swallow as your teeth can’t adequately break them up. That missing tooth will affect your speech as well because your tongue and lips rely on the position of your teeth to form words. People who have lost one or more teeth may slur their words or have trouble with certain pronunciations.
Replacing Your Missing Tooth
Dr. Jennifer Santoro offers several ways to restore a full smile at Village Center Dentistry. A dental implant is one option that best mimics your natural tooth’s feel and function and prevents bone recession using an artificial tooth root made of titanium. Implant-supported bridges or fixed bridges are another way to fill in your smile.
Contact Village Center Dentistry to schedule your appointment and discuss your restorative dentistry options with Dr. Santoro by calling 858-566-8510 or emailing us today.