After you lose a tooth, the appearance of your smile can seem like the biggest consequence. In many respects, it is a serious one; besides your confidence in your smile, the gap in it can also affect everything from your bite’s immediate function to your long-term oral health, and more. At our Encinitas/San Diego periodontal office, we can help you understand what tooth loss can mean for your smile, and avoid the potentially serious consequences of it by custom-designing a lifelike prosthesis. For example, with one or more dental implants, we can even help you avoid the effects of missing teeth roots.
The positions of your other teeth change
Your teeth are mainly held steady by the periodontal tissues and jawbone structure that support their roots. However, a full row of teeth helps ensure that each tooth has proper support on either side as you bite and chew, as well. When you lose a tooth, the pressure in your bite is no longer distributed evenly, and the teeth that were adjacent to the missing one can shift toward the empty space. Besides changing the overall alignment of your teeth, which can lead to several other bite problems, this shifting also leaves your teeth more susceptible to infection by harmful oral bacteria.
Your jawbone loses mass and density
The jawbone structure that supports your teeth roots also supplies your teeth with essential minerals and nutrients. Your body knows how much nutrition to send it by reading the stimulation in your jawbone when you bite and chew. The loss of a root means less stimulation, and your body sends your jaw fewer nutrients in response. Over time, this causes your jawbone to lose mass and density, or degrade, making it weaker and visibly smaller. The consequences of jawbone erosion include a heightened risk of future tooth loss (due to diminished jawbone support) as well as visible effects known as facial collapse.
Your risks of other issues grows exponentially
As the effects of tooth loss progress, the risks to your long-term oral health grow worse, as well. The more your teeth shift out of alignment, the more likely you’ll have to restore their health and integrity as well as undergo treatment to realign them. The more your jawbone erodes, the more teeth you’ll likely lose and the greater the visible impact of facial collapse will be. For many patients, the best way to prevent worsening concerns is to replace their lost tooth or teeth with a custom-designed crown, bridge, or denture, supported on an appropriate number of root-like dental implant posts.
Learn what to do after tooth loss
The effects of tooth loss can vary, and depend largely on how long you wait to address the loss with an appropriate prosthesis. For more information, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kania by calling her periodontal office in Encinitas/San Diego, CA, at (760) 642-0711.