Whether you’ve had to have a tooth removed or lost a tooth due to an accident, missing teeth can have an impact on your other teeth and your bite.
Sometimes we have patients tell us that they aren’t worried about a missing tooth because it is not a cosmetic concern, but there are other important factors to take into consideration when determining if a lost tooth needs to be replaced.
Everyone’s teeth are arranged in alignment with their jaw arch. This positioning of our teeth is what enables us all to chew and to talk! A loss of a tooth, particularly multiple teeth, can make it difficult to chew. Just think about those fresh, crunchy vegetables or that delicious, chewy caramel!
The impact of a lost tooth on your remaining teeth is another concern. Your remaining teeth can find it difficult to maintain their normal function because there is a change in your bite. You can have increased stress and therefore wear. This can then mean that you’ll experience more fractures and pain in your remaining teeth following the loss of a tooth. You can think of this as overcompensation. The worst-case scenario is that this leads to progressive bone degeneration and loss, and also receding gums.
Interestingly, there have been an increasing number of studies that suggest there may be a link between tooth loss and the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In case this topic catches your attention:
- This is an article discussing tooth loss as a risk factor for dementia: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6195976/
- This is an article analysing possible relationships between tooth loss and Alzheimer’s disease: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40496-019-0219-1