Why You Shouldn't Ignore a Missing Tooth

Why You Shouldn't Ignore a Missing Tooth

It’s not uncommon to have a missing tooth. Close to 180 million people in the United States are missing at least one tooth. But ignoring your missing tooth, or several missing teeth, can have long-term effects on your oral and overall health. 

Our compassionate staff at Licata Dental in Chesterfield, Missouri, is led by Dr. Faye Licata, an experienced general, cosmetic, and reconstructive dentist. While Dr. Licata can address most any dental issue that may arise, she has a number of options to restore missing teeth and protect your oral health. 

How do we lose teeth?

Despite the strength of our teeth, they can be vulnerable. People can experience tooth loss for a variety of reasons, including: 

  • Gum disease, which accounts for up to 70% of tooth loss
  • Effects from chronic conditions, including nicotine addiction, arthritis, and diabetes
  • Injuries from car accidents, falls, or altercations
  • Cavities that aren’t treated or infected tooth pulp

If you lose a tooth, it’s important to rescue it, if it is safe for you to do so. Hold the tooth by the crown so you don’t touch the roots. Rinse the tooth with cool water, and store it in a glass of milk or in your mouth against your cheek. Keeping your tooth moist gives Dr. Licata the chance to restore the tooth to its proper place.

Why can’t I ignore my missing tooth?

The delicate balance of your oral health requires you to have all of your teeth for optimal health. Several things can happen if you choose not to address a missing tooth, including: 

Gum disease

If your gums are healthy, it’s easier to keep your teeth healthy, and vice versa. Brushing and flossing consistently is half of the battle, but making sure that you have all of your teeth is another part of the fight against periodontal disease, or gum disease. Losing a tooth leaves an exposed round in your gums, so the area is exposed to bacteria that can cause infections. 

Bone loss

Cells regularly regenerate throughout your body, and your bone cells are no exception. One of the reasons that your teeth are important to your jaw is because the roots of your tooth, which are anchored in your jawbone, help to stimulate the production of bone tissue in your jaw. When a tooth is missing, the bone tissue in that area isn't stimulated anymore and can begin to recede.

Additional missing teeth

Believe it or not, losing a tooth can cause you to lose more teeth. When a tooth is gone, the remaining nearby teeth naturally shift because there’s nothing in the gap to prevent it. Losing a tooth cuts off the cellular stimulation for the jawbone tissue, weakening that area. This raises the possibility of losing another tooth, or several teeth. 

Tooth misalignment

As teeth drift into the area of the missing tooth, misalignment can occur. Misalignment and malocclusion refer to teeth that are crooked and bites where teeth do not meet correctly. Teeth that are misaligned are harder to clean, raising your risk for gum disease. When teeth shift out of place, it’s harder to chew, too.

What are my options?

Dr. Licata offers dental implants to replace missing teeth and restore your smile. Durable and convenient with natural-looking results, dental implants have high rates of patient satisfaction and effectively protect your oral health. If you’re missing a tooth, don’t wait for other problems to affect you. Call us for an appointment at 636-532-2101 or book a visit online.

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Chesterfield, MO

111 Hilltown Village Center, Suite 200, Chesterfield, MO 63017

Email: office@licatadental.com

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