If you were to lose a tooth at the front of your mouth, you might not think twice about replacing it. No one likes the idea of a gaping hole in their smile. However, some people assume that posterior tooth loss at the back of the mouth is not that big a deal. The gap that results from the missing tooth is far enough away from the front of the mouth that it won’t be seen, at least not very much. Why would it matter if the gap were simply left alone? We’re going to tell you why.
Tooth Replacement is Necessary to Prevent
The primary function of teeth is to help us bite and chew. Teeth are also involved in clear speech. Could the loss of one tooth near the back of the mouth really be such a problem to these two functions? Perhaps. The issue with the gap left behind when a tooth is lost is that surrounding teeth can naturally drift into it. Teeth need to butt-up to one another to prevent teeth from shifting out of place. Furthermore, if tooth loss occurs on the bottom arch, the upper tooth that opposes the gap can over-grow, presenting a risk of damage.
The way our teeth fit together forms our “bite.” The bite involves not only our teeth but also the jaw joints. Located on each side of the mouth where the lower mandible meets the skull, the temporomandibular joints work with muscles and ligaments to move the jaw. Tooth loss can affect how teeth fit together. A change in bite forces the temporomandibular joints to work harder. Symptoms of overworked TMJs include facial and neck stiffness, face and head pain, even chronic headaches.
Teeth not only support other teeth but also the jawbone. Bone tissue in the jaw regenerates with the help of chewing. When we chew, vibrations reverberate through teeth roots and into the jawbone. The gentle stimulation provokes new bone growth. Tooth loss diminishes the necessary stimulation of the jawbone and, over time, the bone degrades.
Tooth replacement isn’t just a matter of getting back a full smile. Our goal in providing tooth replacement services like dental implants is to restore proper structure and function for long-term health and wellness. To learn more about tooth replacement treatment, call 786-837-5266.