What happens if you don't replace a missing tooth?

A look at the complications from an incomplete smile

When a healthy tooth is in place in your mouth, as well as its obvious job of chewing food, it also helps to hold your surrounding teeth in their correct position.

This means that, whether you’ve lost a tooth from an extraction (perhaps due to tooth decay, gum disease, or trauma), for endodontic reasons, or from disease such as cancer, there are a number of further problems which can be caused by a missing tooth.

For example:

  • Your teeth will have a tendency to drift without pressure from the opposing tooth. This means they can move into unfavourable positions, as they tilt, rotate, or over-erupt.
  • Food can become stuck between your teeth more easily, which makes your teeth harder to clean and increases the risk of tooth decay.
  • Your gums can be impacted since they are harder to clean, which increase the risk of periodontal disease.
  • The bone will shrink away, complicating later attempts to restore the tooth.    
  • Food and debris trapped in the area can fester and cause localised inflammation.
  • Your teeth can become uneven, making future replacement with crowns and dentures much more challenging and complicated.
  • Spaces that were large enough for implants may close up, meaning any replacement     may require preparatory orthodontics.
  • Food may become stuck underneath the tilting structure, causing problems with cleaning and tooth decay.

All of these issues tend to increase the risk of further complications, which means correcting your missing tooth will cost more and take longer to treat.

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How quickly do problems happen because of missing teeth?

Depending on your current health and the condition of your teeth, they can move out of position anywhere from a matter of weeks to months or years. And the younger you are, the more quickly your teeth will move – so younger people in particular should think about the consequences of a missing tooth.

Another thing to think about is, if you suffer from gum disease, your teeth will tend to move more quickly because of less support.

And if your teeth commonly experience an active force (such as tongue thrusting or a habit of chewing on pens or pencils), then you may experience increased movement.


How we can replace your missing teeth

All of this means that it’s a very good idea to think about a modern tooth replacement option for your missing tooth.

We’ll talk through your wants, your needs, your budget, and the timeframe you have in mind.    

If together we do decide to replace your missing tooth, the Wickham Terrace Dental team will:

  • Check if there is enough space for a replacement tooth
  • Discover if there’s enough bone present for a dental implant. If so, what is its thickness and quality?
  • Check the physical spacing, and the quality of your remaining dentition
  • Look at your replacement options and plan your treatment.

Of course, your expectations are important, so we’ll take the time to talk to you about the options for your individual situation. You may be able to choose from a removable denture, a fixed bridge, a dental implant, or orthodontics to close the space.

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Talk to us about your tooth replacement options

The Wickham Terrace Dental team have the expertise to look at all options for replacing your missing teeth.

To find out more, get in touch with our Brisbane dentists on (07) 3831 3031 or contact us online now.

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