Just One Lost Tooth Can Change Your Smile
A look at some of the consequences of losing a tooth.
A full set of healthy teeth will give you the ability to have a confident smile, especially if you have had them enhanced by one of our many cosmetic treatments such as teeth whitening.
At our Foxhall Road practice in Ipswich, we will always do what we can to not only save a natural tooth which has been damaged, but to do so in the most aesthetic way possible. Sometimes though, a tooth simply is too badly decayed or damaged to be saved, and has to be extracted.
Once an adult tooth has been removed, unfortunately there will be no more teeth coming through, unlike your first teeth. Depending on the location of the missing tooth, it may be tempting to simply leave the gap, but there are a number of good reasons why you shouldn’t.
It probably doesn’t need to be said that if you lose a front tooth, it is going to look very obvious and few of us would be happy with our smile in this situation. Even a gap in the teeth that is not directly visible when we smile can often be seen when we laugh or yawn.
Aesthetics are important, not for any reasons of vanity, but because they help us to feel confident and losing that confidence can have a real knock on effect in our personal lives. For this reason, we generally recommend that our patients consider the tooth replacement options that we have available at our Ipswich practice.
The ‘knock on’ effect of a missing tooth
If we leave aside the above argument about aesthetics, there are still good reasons to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant or alternative. Once a tooth is removed, it is not only the visible crown part that is extracted, but the roots that would normally hold the tooth securely in place. These roots extend down into the jawbone and are securely held there by the bonding between the tooth root and the bone. Once the root has been removed, this removes the need for the bone to perform that function and the bone will gradually shrink as the minerals are reabsorbed for use in another part of the body.
On the surface of it, this may not seem overly important to the layperson, but as the bone shrinks, it can cause minor facial shape changes. These, combined with an available space, means that the remaining teeth either side of the gap may start to encroach into the space. As they do this, they leave their own spaces into which other teeth may start to encroach. Although it may take a little time, this ‘domino effect’ can result in a mouthful of crooked and uneven teeth that need orthodontic treatment to correct.
Rather than the need for orthodontic treatment later on, it is best to replace the missing tooth as soon as possible. Our recommendation for most patients would be to place a dental implant. Not only do these replace the visible part of the missing tooth, but also supply an artificial root for the jawbone to bond with, helping to avoid bone loss in the first place. Partial dentures and bridges may also be used for this purpose, but neither of these replace the root of the tooth.
If you would like to find out more about the available alternatives for replacing a missing tooth, please call the Foxhall Dental Clinic on 01473 258396.