What is the Problem with Missing Teeth?
There are many reasons for missing teeth. They can fall out by themselves, or they can be extracted by your dentist. When the decision to extract a tooth is made, it is obviously for a good reason: infection, fracture, or a periodontal problem. Regardless of why you are missing teeth, having one or more teeth missing is not without consequences on the rest of the teeth.
Consequences on other teeth
The absence of a tooth generates a space that the other teeth will try to fill by moving. Neighboring teeth may shift when lying down, causing gaps with other teeth, leading to food jam problems and increased chances of further cavities. The opposing teeth ("in front") no longer finding contact will erode (that is to say, they will grow, "come out of the jaw"). This will also generate spaces with neighboring teeth and therefore increased risk of cavities. These extruded teeth will also be less supported in the bone because the roots will be exposed, which causes dentinal sensitivities.
Consequences on bone and gums
Much of the jawbone (mandible and maxilla) is used to support the teeth. After an extraction or losing a tooth, since there is locally no more tooth to support it, the bone and the gum will atrophy locally. It can even be complicated to position implants after too long a delay because the resorption becomes too important. In this case, it becomes necessary to resort to bone grafts.
Consequences on chewing and digestion
This is an obvious aspect. When a tooth is missing, a pair of teeth becomes non-functional since the teeth work in pairs to grind or cut food. Chewing will then be less alternating between the dentate sector and the edentulous sector. The teeth of the most toothed sector, favored for eating, tire and wear out more quickly. When several teeth are missing, the masticatory function is impaired. Digestion becomes more difficult since the food bolus is not reduced enough before passing into the stomach.
Consequences on speech
Teeth participate in phonation (the production of speech sounds). The tongue normally comes to rest on certain teeth to pronounce certain words. The absence of certain teeth can even cause air leaks when speaking, thus the risk of postilions. A lisp can become very disabling in adulthood.
Consequences on the smile aesthetics
Of course one of the most obvious consequences of missing teeth is that the aesthetics of your smile are affected. This can cause self-consciousness and prevent you from smiling.
Consequences on posture and musculoskeletal disorders
Occlusion, that is, the way in which the upper teeth (maxillary teeth) mesh with the lower teeth (mandibular teeth) contributes to good posture. A tooth absence can cause a functional imbalance and therefore muscular and articular. Chewing muscles no longer working symmetrically can become painful, and this can lead to various side effects including:
- muscle pain
- pain in the temporomandiblary joints (just in front of the ears) and cracking
- neck and / or back pain, by compensation
- eye tensions by compensating the muscles that move the eyes
Because of all these issues, it is recommended that you have missing teeth replaced as soon as possible and that you talk to your dentist and come up with a plan to replace your teeth.