You may think that one missing tooth is no big deal, especially if it's one in the back that people don't see when you smile.
You may even have intentions of getting that tooth replaced with an implant or with a partial denture. However, even a single missing tooth can damage the jaw bone. Here are a few of the ways this missing tooth can cause harm.
The Jaw Bone Loses Nutrients
Each tooth helps keep the jaw bone healthy. When you're missing a tooth, the jaw bone is no longer stimulated at the point when you bite and chew. It no longer has the blood flow from the tooth to help keep it healthy. This causes the bone to start deteriorating at the point where the tooth once was. In the end, that part of the jaw bone becomes much weaker than it was before. If it deteriorates too much, it can be difficult to put an implant there because there won't be enough bone to fully support it without a bone graft.
The Neighboring Teeth Can Become Misaligned
Without a tooth between them to hold them up, the teeth on either side can start to sink inward. This can cause a number of alignment issues that affect how you talk and how you bite down. This also affects the jaw bone and can lead to deterioration because those teeth aren't able to properly chew and grind food. This interferes with the stimulation of the bone.
The Jaw Bone Can be Resorbed
If you are missing a molar in your upper jaw, it can actually cause part of your jaw bone to be resorbed due to the air pressure from your sinuses. This leads to enlarged sinus cavities, which can be problematic on their own.
These are just a few of the different ways a missing tooth harms your jaw bone and the rest of your mouth. If you're missing a tooth, contact us today to discuss your replacement options.
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