What Are the Consequences of Tooth Loss?

It is a common belief that the greatest consequence of losing a permanent tooth is how the visible gap can change the look of a smile; however, our dentists in Chesapeake at Eastern Virginia Family & Cosmetic Dentistry want patients to be aware that leaving missing teeth unreplaced can create some serious concerns:

  • Shifting teeth – When gaps are left behind by missing teeth the adjacent teeth can shift their position toward the open space. The longer the gap remains, the more pronounced the changes can become. Teeth can potentially tilt and rotate as well, especially when the jawbone tissue has receded.
  • Jawbone recession – When a tooth is lost, the root no longer places pressure on the jaw bone tissue to stimulate bone growth and maintain healthy bone density. The bone recedes from the area where the tooth was lost and continues to do so, eventually affecting the health and stability of the adjacent teeth.
  • Gum recession – As the bone tissue recedes, the gum tissue that covers it retreats as well. This can expose the roots of the adjacent teeth and make them more susceptible to sensitivity and decay.
  • Sunken cheeks and lips – Healthy teeth and jaws support the soft tissue of the lips and cheeks. When teeth are missing, especially several in a row, the lips and cheeks can draw inward, creating a sunken appearance.
  • Changes in facial proportions – Worn and/or missing teeth combined with jawbone recession can shorten the distance between the nose and chin. This collapsing effect brings the upper and lower jaws closer together, changing the proportions of the face and creating a more aged appearance.
  • Jaw complications – Missing teeth can change the way a person chews and affect the bite. These changes can negatively impact the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that connects the upper and lower jaw, which can create pain, popping, stiffness, and other uncomfortable symptoms.

Our skilled cosmetic dentists can help you avoid and correct the many problems missing teeth can cause. By replacing a missing tooth with a custom dental implant or bridge you can repair both the health of your bite and beauty of your smile. For patients who are missing all of their teeth, we may be able to create dentures that are held in place by several dental implants. Dental implants offer a unique advantage in that they can stimulate jawbone tissue to prevent recession, which is a very desirable benefit.

We welcome you to schedule an appointment at our practice to learn more about all of the options available for replacing your missing tooth or teeth. You’ll find that our dentists are compassionate, experienced, and take the time to explain the drawbacks and benefits of every treatment plan. Contact Eastern Virginia Family & Cosmetic Dentistry today!