Young children look so adorable when they lose a tooth, don't they? But when it happens to you as an adult, it's no laughing matter. Most people are quick to replace the front teeth for esthetic reasons. Whether you have limited funds or you just don't want to deal with the situation, missing teeth that are out of sight are much more likely to get neglected. If you've recently lost a tooth and are under the impression you can just leave it be, you should reconsider.
The Crowded Elevator
If you've ever been on a crowded elevator, you know exactly what happens when one person gets off: everyone moves to fill that space. You don't want to be bumping elbows with the person next to you, so you move over to give yourself a little breathing room.
That's exactly what your teeth do.
And it happens not just to the teeth next door, but to the ones above and below as well. You see, your pearly whites are used to the "bump and grind" routine. That's their job. As you chew, the upper and lower teeth meet each other over and over. If one of your teeth suddenly goes missing, it "confuses" the opposing tooth, forcing it to slowly emerge from the socket in order to go looking for its partner.
All of this shifting around is bad because once this happens, your teeth can fall victim to ectopic caries, a condition in which decay occurs in unusual places. Ectopic caries, if severe enough, can require a root canal for proper treatment.
The Overworked and Underpaid
The teeth surrounding that empty space carry a heavier workload and are under more pressure to "perform." This means they have to pick up the slack of the missing tooth when it comes to chewing your food.
And what is their reward? They become weaker over time and lose their enamel faster, making them more susceptible to cracks and cavities.
Snap, Crackle, Pop
You've probably heard those ugly popping sounds when someone is chewing their food. But do you know what causes it?
When you're missing a tooth, it changes the way all of your teeth come together when you bite down, also known as your occlusion. When your occlusion is off, you're more likely to suffer from bruxism, or grinding and clenching the teeth. And this can lead to TMJ, otherwise known as temporo-mandibular joint disorder.
Why is TMJ bad? Aside from the headaches, earaches, dizziness, neck and shoulder pain, and embarrassing jaw-popping sounds TMJ tends to create, you might additionally suffer from arthritis in the jaw down the road from all of that clenching and grinding. And as you can imagine, all of the above can place undue stress on the rest of the teeth in your mouth.
So What's the Solution?
Fill that space with a dental implant.
Implants look and feel just like your real teeth. They work wonderfully to maintain the overall integrity of your bite as well as your oral health.
Dental implants are permanent, unlike other options like bridges that may need to be replaced in as little as five years.
Because implants are a permanent replacement, you won't have to worry about that missing tooth forming a malocclusion that could lead to TMJ. And because the implant is secured to the bone, your jawbone will not succumb to deterioration over the years.
Implants are extremely convenient to take care of. You simply brush and floss just like you're already doing every day. They don't have to be removed for cleaning. In fact, they can't be removed, so you also don't have to worry about them falling out while you're talking, eating, and laughing.
15 December 2014