Sometimes a tooth can’t be saved, and the last and only option you have left is to remove it. You go ahead with the extraction, you wait the required weeks for your gum to heal, but due to one reason or another you don’t return to your dentist to continue the restoration of that tooth. "No big deal" you say, "I have plenty of teeth left, this one isn't that important".
But have you really stopped to think what happens if you never replace a missing tooth?
Teeth work as a great team and they know it. And what makes a great team? Unity!
When you lose a tooth, you’re missing a piece of the wonderful tool that is your mouth. And as a self-regulating machine, your body will notice when it is missing a part of it. Your teeth will attempt to close the gap left by the missing tooth by inclining the nearby teeth towards the open space, but this has very serious consequences:
· Dental erosion. Our teeth, ideally, work almost like a zipper. The top teeth match the bottom teeth so you can close your mouth comfortably and food is chewed properly. But if one of these teeth move, it won’t match the upper tooth anymore. Not only will this be VERY uncomfortable because you’ll feel and even hear those two teeth clicking together and will eventually erode each other. This means you won’t be able to chew properly and might even cause sensitivity.
· · Dental extrusion. When you lose a tooth, the opposite tooth won’t have anything to chew against. Eventually, your tooth will start to look longer: your body will start to “push it out” until it meets something, in this case your opposite gum or any of the nearby teeth that are also trying to cover the gap left by the missing tooth. You might eventually lose this tooth too! The farther the tooth is “pushed out”, the more exposed it root will be and your chances of suffering sensitivity, pain or outright losing the tooth will increase.
· · Food Packing and Cavities. Due to the movement of your teeth, food will find even more spaces to be packed into. If you don’t floss properly or at all, you're at risk of developing cavities in the nearby teeth. If a big cavity was the reason why you lost the tooth in the first place, you’ll be just making things worse if you don’t replace it on time! Are you really going to remove all your teeth, one by one?
Once you have dental mobility you have a limited time to correct it. It could be months, it could be years, but eventually you will run out of time to do something about it. The more time you let go by, the harder and more expensive it will be to correct.
· · Root Canal If your teeth aren’t too inclined or erupted, a root canal could be done on the affected teeth and restored with a fixed bridge.
· · Orthodontic Treatment If your teeth are too inclined, orthodontic treatment could move those inclined teeth back to their original position and keep them there until you replace the missing tooth. We all want to feel like teenagers again, but there are easier and more enjoyable ways than this one!
· · Extraction Sometimes it’s impossible to fix some things. If you let too much time pass and your teeth are too inclined and loose to withstand a root canal or an orthodontic treatment, your only option will be to also extract those teeth and replace them too.
Okay, now you know what happens if you don’t replace that tooth soon enough. But how can you replace it?
Fortunately, you have a couple of options where to choose from.
· Implants These require a surgery to place a long screw into your gum and jaw bone, on top of which you will place a dental crown of your choice.
· Fixed Bridges These bridges are made from at least three crowns of the material of your choice, two of them are placed over existing teeth surrounding and act as a support of the third crown, which covers the missing tooth. If you’re missing more than one tooth, the fixed bridge will require more crowns.
· Removable Bridges a.k.a. Partial Dentures These are removable prosthesis which have replacements of the tooth or teeth you are missing. You have to take them on and off to wash them and to sleep.
So, now that you know what can happen if you don’t replace your missing tooth in time, will you postpone that dental appointment again? Visit us at Dental Studio in Tijuana and we will help you to avoid all these inconveniences!
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Calle Quinta , Zona Centro
Tijuana Baja California, 7974
Tijuana Dental Studio
Calle Quinta , Zona Centro
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