You may be considering replacing missing teeth to enhance your smile, but restoring your missing tooth can also improve your speech and bite. When you lose a tooth, the surrounding teeth may shift to fill the empty space. This can result in bone loss in the surrounding area and permanent changes in the position of your other teeth.
If you lose a permanent tooth, the bone supporting your teeth begins to shrink. Known as resorption, this process naturally occurs because the force of your tooth no longer stimulates the bone. Resorption begins almost as soon as the tooth is removed and progresses over time. During resorption, the bone loses both height and width. If you have lost multiple teeth, you can eventually experience significant loss of the jawbone. As resorption progresses it can become more difficult to wear removable dentures, as there won’t be an adequate ridge to stabilize the denture.
If your bone begins to resorb, the covering gum also begins to shrink. This creates a concavity in the mouth, which can be aesthetically unpleasing. However, the concavity also makes it easier for food to impact under the adjacent teeth. If food begins to impact, it will be difficult to remove the bacteria from your gums. This can ultimately lead to gum disease , tooth decay, and or infection.
Drifting is a process where the adjacent teeth begin to occupy the vacant space left by the missing teeth. Tooth loss can also cause opposing teeth to drift down into the vacant space. Teeth naturally tend to move toward the front of your mouth and toward the opposing jaw. However, the adjacent and opposing teeth prevent them from actually moving. If your teeth drift, it can cause discrepancies in the height and contours of your gum tissue, which can affect your bite and smile.
At John Carson DDS, our friendly dental team builds strong, lasting relationships with our patients. Our goal is to leave you confident in understanding your dental needs and dental treatment goals. For more information about cosmetic dentistry in Tucson, please call (520) 355-4855.