However, there are unfortunately many more less-obvious, long-term effects of missing teeth that everyone needs to know about!
Though tooth extraction was a very common resolution in dentistry in the not-so-distant past (especially for hidden-away back teeth) we now have a greater understanding of the cascading negative side effects this causes…
Your Teeth Move!
For example: here is an image of a tooth that was extracted around 15 years ago
As you can see, because of the void left where the bottom tooth was extracted, the adjacent top tooth that was relying on support from underneath has slid or fallen down – exposing the roots, which not only causes sensitivity and increases chances of gum infection, but also causes that tooth to become loose, and possibly need removing also.
Similarly, the back molar behind the missing tooth has started to tilt forward due to the lack of support from the side. This affects the bite, as the top molar is now biting down on the side of that tooth, which will cause more misalignment over time, and could ultimately lead to more tooth loss!
The more teeth you lose, the more structure of the mouth is lost, and your face starts to sink in shape as your lips lose support of the tooth and gums – but more on this to come…
Less-Obvious Effects of Missing Teeth
What is perhaps not so obvious to the untrained-eye in the previous photo is, where the missing tooth void is, you can actually see serious gum recession and bone loss: that is, the bone surrounding the missing tooth has started to degenerate over time due to lack of support.
Believe it or not, the jawbone beneath our gums which support the roots of our teeth rely heavily on simulation from the tooth itself to maintain their structure. When a tooth is removed, the bone that was surrounding that tooth quite quickly begins to degenerate – up to 25% decrease in width first year after tooth loss – and up to 4mm decrease in height over the next few years. Loss of the bone in both height and width presents two major issues:
As mentioned earlier, the structure of your face is greatly dependent on the support of the mouth, and as lost teeth lead to loss of gum and bone… your face starts to show the lack of support. Your lips can begin to droop, and cheeks hollow as they lose the support of the degenerating jawbone underneath.
As the bone surrounding a missing tooth diminishes, and the teeth around that point begin to crowd the void – replacing that tooth becomes more difficult, and eventually impossible. Whilst dental implants are an excellent solution for missing teeth, the procedure relies on adequate bone structure underneath, in order for the implant to fuse to the bone in a process called ‘osseointegration.’
Of course, there are a number of solutions to missing teeth (dependent on surviving bone structure) that we offer at Advanced Dental Artistry, from traditional full or partial dentures – to crowns and bridges – to dental implants – and in some cases, we can even restore an entire smile in a matter of days with advanced All-on-4 implant procedure.
Please browse our website for further information on these solutions – and don’t hesitate to contact us for any further information, we welcome all enquiries!
It may not be too late for you…
As a second generation dentist, Dr Adrian Kat from Advanced Dental Artistry has seen better than most the advancements dentistry has made since his father run his dental practice in Perth 40 years ago.
While it may have been common then to extract teeth, nowadays, Dr Kat and his highly qualified team are dedicated to restoring normal function, comfort and aesthetics to individuals who are missing teeth, using top-of-the-range materials and advanced cosmetic dentistry techniques.
If you suffer silently from a missing tooth or teeth, we hope with this information on long-term effects in hand, you wont hesitate to contact us today to discuss options for restoration.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Published on March 3rd 2016, last reviewed on February 10th 2020