Whenever you lose a tooth, it can have a big impact on both your smile and the integrity and health of your teeth. Many people focus on aesthetics – how it looks to have a missing tooth – which is a real problem that needs addressing. However, most don’t think about the other effects of a lost tooth, such as impairing your ability to chew and speak properly or the stress it puts on your other teeth.
Let’s take a closer look at the consequences of a lost tooth:
Proper chewing and speaking
The adult human mouth naturally has 32 teeth, so losing just one of them might not seem like a big deal. That is, until you’ve lost it.
Then, you realize how important that tooth was for chewing – and even speaking – properly, which can diminish your ability to enjoy food and impact your self-confidence.
Of course, some teeth can be more important than others for these tasks, meaning the impact a lost tooth has on the functionality of the rest of your teeth is dependant on which tooth it is, as well as the anatomy of your mouth.
Even bite distribution
If you’ve ever sprained an ankle or hurt one side of your body, you might already understand how overcompensation on the other side can worsen the problem. If, for example, you hurt one of your hips and start to rely more on the other hip, then the uninjured hip can also start to hurt under its new, unproportional burden. Our bodies are meant to have balance, with an even distribution of force and weight.
The mouth is no different. If you lose a tooth on one side of your mouth, affecting your ability to chew properly on that side, then the other side of your mouth is going to begin handling more stress than it’s accustomed to. Ultimately, this can mean that the other side of your mouth starts to develop problems much more quickly than it would have otherwise.
The position of other teeth
One of the things that keeps our teeth in their proper places is the other teeth around them, which serve as structural support. Hence, when you lose a tooth, the teeth surrounding that tooth can begin to drift out of position and become misaligned. If a tooth becomes too far out of place there may be no recourse other than orthodontic treatment.
How Auburn Hills Can Help
In many cases, bridges are the best way to fix a lost tooth. They are literally a bridge between your teeth, with two caps placed on the teeth next to the lost tooth and a false tooth – called a pontic – filling the gap created by the lost tooth.
To place a bridge, we’ll first need to make sure it’s the best option for you, which can depend on the structure and health of the surrounding teeth. If it is the right option, we’ll prepare the surrounding teeth by removing some enamel and taking impressions that we’ll send to the lab to create your bridge. In the meantime, we’ll place a temporary bridge to protect your teeth and gums. If you have a tooth that needs to be extracted and replaced using a bridge, a temporary bridge can be placed the same day so you never have to go without the tooth.
Once the bridge is ready to go, you will come in for the placement, which is usually quick and pain-free. We will also have you come in for at least one follow-up appointment to make sure everything is going as planned.
If you’d like to schedule an appointment for us to examine your teeth and figure out if a bridge is the best solution, reach out today!