4 Oral Health Issues That Missing Teeth Cause

Posted on: 13 January 2023

Missing teeth are more than just a cosmetic issue. When you don't replace missing teeth, your oral health can suffer in a number of ways. If you have one or more missing teeth, replace them as soon as you can.

If you can replace missing teeth within a few months, you can avoid the following oral health issues.  

1. Wear and tear

Each tooth plays a role in chewing food. For instance, incisors cut food and canines tear food. When you lose a tooth, your ability to chew food suffers. As a result of losing a tooth on one side of your mouth, you may then use the teeth on the other side of your mouth more when chewing food. Inevitably, this leads to more wear and tear than usual since you are using certain teeth more than you normally do.

To prevent wear and tear on your remaining teeth, replace lost teeth as soon as possible with dental implants, dental bridges or dentures.

2. Misalignment

A natural process called "mesial drift"—which is when your teeth move toward the front of the mouth—occurs throughout your life. This shifting process accelerates when you lose a tooth because there is now an open space for adjacent teeth to drift into. Over time, as an adjacent tooth shifts into the open space left by a missing tooth, your bite becomes misaligned. A misaligned bite makes it harder to chew food.

Misalignment of teeth also leads to overcrowding of teeth, a condition that increases wear and tear. Misaligned teeth are also a cosmetic issue.

3. Bruxism

Bruxism refers to nighttime teeth grinding, which occurs when you sleep. Bruxism can occur due to stress. But tooth misalignment is also another cause of bruxism. When you sleep at night, and your teeth are misaligned, your jaw attempts to find a comfortable position, which leads to grinding.

You can't control the level of pressure you exert when you grind your teeth while asleep. As a result, bruxism can wear your teeth down rapidly unless you treat the problem. You can treat bruxism caused by a missing tooth by replacing the missing tooth.

4. Infection

If you lose a tooth and its root, the wound will heal and close over within a few weeks. This prevents infection. But if you still have part of a tooth in your jawbone, the site of the missing tooth will remain open to food debris and bacteria. Unless you remove the tooth fragments and root of the tooth, you may suffer reoccurring infection, which will affect your gum tissue and bone tissue.

Are you missing one or more teeth? Then speak to your dentist about your tooth replacement options. Replacing missing teeth will help you to avoid the aforementioned oral health problems.