If you have missing teeth and aren't interested in replacing them, you might be concerned to know that your health could be impacted as a result. Missing teeth are more than just a minor eyesore - they can have a serious effect on how healthy your mouth, gums, and jaw are. If you're still not convinced that you need to have your missing teeth replaced, read on to learn about the three major problems you could develop if you don't.
Oral disease like tooth decay and gum disease can be more common in people who are missing teeth. This is because when a tooth falls out or is extracted without being replaced, it leaves an open spot in your mouth. The gums that remain where the tooth used to be can gather bacteria, food debris, and biofilm, making them a breeding ground for the elements to cause both gum disease and tooth decay. This can harm your overall gum health and your surrounding teeth, putting you at risk for a host of dental problems.
When a tooth falls out or is removed and isn't replaced, it can begin to cause bone loss throughout your jaw. Without the pressure that's transmitted through your teeth going into your jaw, you could lose up to 25% of your bone width in just the first year after losing your tooth. There are only two ways to deal with this problem: replacing the missing tooth with an implant, which transmits pressure in a similar way to a real tooth, or having a bone graft procedure performed.
Lastly, missing one or more teeth puts you at a higher risk of losing your other teeth, too. This is due to both of the problems listed above. Oral disease puts you at a higher risk of developing gum disease and decay that can cause teeth to fall out or develop cavities. Bone loss also contributes to the risk of losing teeth, as without strong bones, there isn't enough support holding the roots of your teeth in place. With those problems working together, the likelihood that you'll lose more teeth if you don't have the one or more that are already missing replaced goes up dramatically.
It may be easy to think that having missing teeth is no big deal, especially if the tooth or teeth in question are hidden away in the back of your mouth. However, that doesn't make you immune to all of these problems. Your oral health will suffer if you don't have your missing teeth replaced, so talk to a dentist like Scott W. Murphy, D.M.D., P.A. about your options and needs. Your gums, surviving teeth, and jaw will benefit from it.