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If It's Just One Missing Tooth, Does it Make That Much of a Difference to Your Mouth?


Posted on 4/13/2017 by Dr. Hallas
A close up of a patients mouth suffering from gum disease.
A single tooth can be lost for a variety of different reasons. Gum disease is a common culprit of tooth loss. The tooth may have suffered from significant decay. You may have suffered an injury. Perhaps the tooth needed to be extracted.

Whatever the case, if it's a single tooth, you may not think that it's not that big of a deal, especially if it's in an area where no one will notice it.

However, even a single missing tooth can make a huge difference in your mouth.

Appearance
One of the most obvious differences made by a single missing tooth is the alteration of your appearance, particularly if the tooth is where it can be seen when you smile. Even a small gap in your smile can lead you to become self-conscious. Instead of a big, broad grin, you may smile with tight lips, and hide your mouth behind your hand when you laugh. It might not seem like a big deal, but people will take notice.

Function
Your teeth have several important functions. Two major functions are that they help you to bite and chew your food as well as control the airflow when you speak. A single missing tooth can cause issues for both. A gap can make chewing more difficult, as food becomes lodged in the empty space. And you may develop a lisp when you speak as the air is not properly stopped when you say certain words.

Teeth Shifting

The roots of your teeth are important not only for holding your teeth in your jaw, but for keeping the bone strong and healthy. They stimulate the bone every time you chew, which sends signals to your body to send nutrients.

Without the root of a tooth, that stimulation is lost, and less nutrients are sent. The bone where your tooth root used to be begins to reabsorb and weaken. As a result, your adjacent teeth may begin to shift, which then throws off your bite. This can then lead to uneven wear and issues with your TMJ.

One tooth may not seem like a big deal, but it can cause several issues. If you have lost a tooth, contact our office to discuss your options for replacement.

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