Why You Should Never Ignore a Missing Tooth

There are many ways to lose a tooth. Maybe you took a blow to the jaw, bit down on a cherry pit, or suffered from a cavity that went too long untreated. In any case, you’ve lost a tooth (or had one extracted), and now you’re thinking it isn’t such a big deal. After all, if you can’t see the gap when you smile, how bad can it be?

At the Dental Center of Hercules in Hercules, California, Dr. Lovely Manlapaz Teodoro sees patients every month who have lost a tooth. Many of them also thought a single missing tooth wasn’t a serious issue — until the teeth next to the gap started to loosen or shift. 

What happens when you lose a tooth?

While losing a tooth can come as a shock, you might quickly decide it’s not the tragedy you assumed it would be — especially if it’s a rear molar and not highly noticeable. What you probably didn’t know about tooth loss is that the root of your tooth is what helps keep your jawbone strong.

When you lose a tooth, the root is no longer there to stimulate the underlying bone. Without stimulation, the bone slowly starts to dissolve at the site of the missing tooth, weakening its hold on the adjacent teeth.

In addition, your teeth form an arch, with each tooth acting as a support to the teeth on either side. When one is lost, the adjacent teeth start to drift into the space left by the missing tooth. The movement, combined with the slowly dissolving bone, eventually causes the adjacent teeth to become loose and fall out.

Over time, every tooth in your smile will be compromised. This is why the loss of a tooth should never be ignored. Fortunately, modern dentistry has a solution to the problem of cascading tooth shifting and loss. 

The perfect tooth replacement: a dental implant

Dental implants consist of a titanium post inserted into the jawbone. An abutment goes on the post, supporting a crown that matches your other teeth. The post acts as a stand-in for the root of the tooth, stimulating the jawbone and keeping it healthy and strong.

When Dr. Teodoro places a dental implant, she first checks to make sure bone loss hasn’t occurred. If you don’t have enough bone to support an implant, she can schedule a bone graft to strengthen the area before your implant is placed. 

Once the bone has grown around the titanium post, the abutment can be mounted, followed by the crown. The completed restoration makes your smile strong and healthy once again.

If you have lost a tooth, don’t delay. Contact our office at 510-244-1765, or use our convenient scheduling tool to book your appointment online today. 

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