Why Missing Teeth Can Cause Problems, and How Bridges Can Help
Posted on 6/8/2020 by Dr. Saklofsky
Many patients feel that a missing tooth is no big deal; in the past, damaged teeth were much more likely even to be pulled. Observation and studies have found that missing teeth, even just one, is, in fact, a problem. Missing teeth can affect how you chew or speak, as well as cause undue stress on surrounding teeth or change the shape of your face over time.
When a tooth is missing, several negative changes occur. First, there is an immediate reaction in the supporting jaw bone. The bone decreases in size, known as atrophy. The results begin immediately and then will continue to shrink with time which can even lead to alterations in your facial shape. Next, the patient often finds that spot to be difficult to chew food, so they will chew on the other side, causing uneven wear on your teeth. Alternatively, the patient may begin removing certain foods from their diet, altering what they eat.
The patient may also find embarrassment of their missing tooth, depending on its location in their mouth, and adjust the shape of their smile to hide it, or even reduce how much they speak socially. Finally, changes to your bite can occur. Neighboring teeth can start shifting out of control causing changes in your bite. A bad bite can cause problems with TMJ dysfunction, or jaw joint dysfunction, which can range from uncomfortable to painful to even the inability to open or close your jaw fully.
Replacing Missing Teeth with a Dental Bridge
A dental bridge consists of two dental crowns on either end with false teeth in between. Bridges are either affixed to strong teeth on either side of the gap or implanted by attaching the bridge directly to the jaw under the gum tissue with a dental implant. Either way, this dental treatment not only fills those missing spaces in your smile with natural-looking artificial teeth, they restore your mouth to full function, ensuring that your oral and overall health is maintained. If you'd like to learn more about dental bridges or other tooth replacement options, give us a call at (971) 317-9499 today!