Over the years, the biggest question I got from my patients is “Why do I need to replace that missing tooth?” They say, “It’s too expensive”, or “no one will see it” and mostly “I can eat OK without it”. For me, as a dentist, getting that tooth replaced is pretty obvious, but for most, these objections remain. In this blog, I will give you 3 big reasons for you to consider getting that missing tooth replaced. And the sooner the better! Here goes:
#1 Your Bite Changes
The first thing you need to understand is that if you have a missing tooth, your bite will change and be out of balance. Normally teeth are held in position mainly by your other teeth. Any space, due to a missing tooth, will be filled by your other teeth. You will have shifting, tilting, rising and falling (called extrusion) of your teeth all in an attempt to close that space. As a result, your teeth will not hit correctly when you bite.
While your teeth are moving and trying to find their balance, you can experience a host of problems. Some of these problems can include:
- Pain in the teeth themselves due to excessive pressure on the teeth that are shifting. Your facial muscles can go into spasms because your teeth are not hitting normally, resulting in facial and jaw pain.
- You may experience headaches, due to overcompensation of the muscles trying to achieve balance, leading to excessive grinding and clenching, all stressing out the delicate muscle systems
- You also may be forced to eat on the opposite side of the mouth. This puts excessive stress on those teeth, which may lead to broken teeth, cracked fillings, and breakdown of the surrounding bone.
If the imbalances are not corrected in a timely manner, advanced TMJ problems become a possibility. Check out our other video on TMJ for info on this one.
#2 Affects Digestion
The second problem with not replacing a missing tooth is that it affects your digestion. All teeth are shaped in a certain way depending on the job it needs to do. For example, front teeth are shaped to cut or incise, while your molar teeth are meant to grind and liquify. Food must be properly broken down into smaller pieces for ease of swallowing and allowing specific enzymes to begin the digestive process.
This means that without certain teeth, food may not be made available for proper digestion, meaning you may not get the nutrients your body requires. Without a full complement of teeth, it becomes easier to fall into the habit of eating softer foods. Unless you’re making your own, many store bought, processed foods like this will often contain high amounts of sugars and carbs which, if eaten in large quantities, could lead to weight gain and possibly even diabetes.
#3 Emotional Well-Being
Finally, not replacing missing teeth can even interfere with your emotional well being. Unless you have fully embraced it, you may feel self-conscious or embarrassed for people to see it, having lost something that “normal” people don’t. Common responses to this all involve not acting like yourself: you may smile less, hoping no one notices; cover your mouth with your hand while speaking; or even avoid situations altogether, isolating yourself and missing out on social opportunities. The simple act of changing how you normally act can have profound effects on your psyche.
A missing tooth can also give the appearance of premature aging. The cheek muscles are held in place by the position of your teeth. If a tooth is missing, the cheek will try to fill in that space and give the appearance of a “sunken cheek”. As well, the weakened lip and cheek muscles can result in unwanted wrinkles. Both contribute to making you look older than your years.
So there you have it – 3 reasons to replace a missing tooth that outweigh any objections I have ever heard. I hope you now understand why it is important to do so, and that you can take the proper steps to improve your oral health. Check out this video below where I discuss the pros and cons of the different options available to replace that missing tooth!
As holistic dentists, we've recommended products and services that supported our patients’ health for decades. In experiencing our own health challenges from mercury toxicity, we worked closely with many natural, alternative, and integrative health practitioners who aided our recovery as well as our patients’. We built this site to provide you with a simple-to-use, comprehensive, informational, and functional resource for your physical, emotional, and spiritual health & well-being.