Why Should Missing Teeth Be Replaced?

With a strong focus on preventive care, Charles Zebe, DMD, does everything possible to help patients keep their natural teeth for life. In some cases, however, tooth loss cannot be avoided, and Dr. Charles Zebe strongly encourages patients to have their teeth replaced with bridges, dentures, or dental implants.

While the cosmetic issues of missing teeth are very clear, the negative health effects are not quite as obvious. Problems with eating and speaking may be minimal at first, but just one missing tooth can have a domino effect on the entire mouth. Biting forces are redistributed to other teeth, which alters the bite, affects the jaw joints, and creates abnormal tooth wear. Teeth also begin to shift when tooth loss creates extra room in the mouth. Without tooth replacement, it may not take very long for the patient to develop crooked and worn teeth, a misaligned bite, TMJ disorder, and a greater vulnerability to tooth decay and gum disease.

While dentures, bridges, and dental implants can all prevent tooth drifting and changes in the bite, only one of these methods can additionally prevent the bone loss in the jaw that occurs after tooth loss. A dental implant stimulates the jawbone in the same manner as a natural tooth root, preventing the bone resorption that alters the appearance of the face.