Losing a Tooth – Did you know that ….
The loss of a tooth can be a result of gum disease, trauma or the deliberate removal in order to treat an infection. Losing a tooth can impact the way you feel, and the psychological and social consequences of tooth loss can also be embarrassing for some people.
Tooth loss is not just about having a gap or dark area where a tooth should be it’s about the consequences for the future.
Obviously, depending on which tooth has been lost, the change to the aesthetics of your smile can be sudden. Having missing teeth can not only be distressing but can age the person and make them appear distinctly older than they are. It can also give the impression that the person does not look after their mouth and this can be detrimental to our relationships as a ‘smile’ is top of the list of things we first notice when meeting a new person, according to nationalsmilemonth.org.uk
However the loss of a tooth does not just have an effect on the aesthetic of the smile but it can also affect function, health, and facial profile.
When a tooth is lost the bone; which was previously supported that tooth, no longer has a function.
The bone in that area will begin to drop away firstly in width, the height, and ultimately in overall volume. In the first year following the removal of a tooth, there is likely to be a 25% decrease in width of bone and 4 millimeters decrease in height over the coming years. The gum tissue in this area will gradually decrease also.
Depending on the number of teeth lost and the positioning of these teeth the ability to chew and to speak could be impaired. A general rule would be that the more teeth which are lost – the more function is lost with it.
How Losing a Tooth Can Affect the Remaining Teeth
Your teeth are constantly adjusting to the forces of your bite. When you have two teeth biting against each other the teeth’s suspension system works to control the pressure of chewing. However, once the opposing tooth is lost, there is nothing for the remaining tooth to bite against – this results in a lack of resistance. Unfortunately, this can mean that the remaining tooth could then begin to ‘over-erupt’ from the jaw bone and stand higher than the teeth around it. This can lead to more complications; as once a tooth has the root exposed there is a danger of bacteria harboring around the root surface (which is now showing in the mouth) and potentially work its way between the tooth roots causing an advanced and hard to treat form of gum disease called periodontitis. This may then result in the loss of this opposing tooth as well.
Once a tooth has been lost, the teeth next to it can also become prone to issues with gum disease. This is because losing a single tooth between two others creates a gap which can be difficult to clean. Accessing the area at the gum line of a tooth can become particularly tricky. As the gum line begins to drop away (due to the loss of bone) this can expose the ‘rougher’ root surface, again making it more difficult to clean and therefore increasing the risk of gum issues in the area.
Movement of All Teeth:
Teeth also have the ability to ‘drift’ through the bone away from their original position. Teeth will always try to ‘even out’ the pressure of biting and will move into the space created by a missing tooth in order to do this. As they move around in order to even out the pressure – small gaps open up between the teeth which can again hinder cleaning by making them difficult to access or even become areas where food trapping can occur.
How Losing a Tooth Can Affect Your Profile.
When losing teeth at the front of the mouth it can often result in a lack of lip support as the bone which held these teeth drops away. This can give the lips a sagged appearance; unsupported by teeth and gum tissues they just cave in. The distance from nose to chin then also decreases and with it, the lower third of the face partially collapses.
When losing back teeth the cheek area also loses tooth support and can then take on a hollowed out appearance. A lack of support from either front or back teeth can result in the person appearing to older than they may actually be. Without teeth present, the tongue can also spread into the space and the face collapses.
Contact Brixworth Dental Practice on 01604 880293 or email us at email@example.com and book an appointment Today to see how we can help you.