I saw a patient recently who was in her mid-60s. She had accumulated a lot of dentistry over the years and was having some issues with new dentistry done by another dentist. As we are going through our exam, we started discussing the obstacles that are keeping her from getting to 100 with all her teeth.
For this patient, there were two concerns – decay on new and existing dentistry, and missing teeth. This patient had a missing side tooth, or a premolar, that did not show when she smiled. Replacing this tooth was not an aesthetic concern like a missing front tooth, but there are several reasons replacing it became important to her long-term dental goals.
As a patient, you might be wondering why you would replace a missing tooth with a dental implant when there is no aesthetic concern. There are several reasons.
1. A missing tooth puts more stress on other teeth
When you have a missing tooth, you subconsciously start to avoid that side of your mouth when you chew. This puts stress on your existing teeth and can change the dynamics of your smile. Eventually, your entire pattern of chewing changes and the other teeth are carrying the load for the missing tooth.
2. It creates wear patterns on your teeth
Over time, your new chewing pattern will alter the form of the existing teeth and create a well-worn path. These traffic patterns on your teeth become pathologic and will start to affect the aesthetic of your smile. So, while the missing tooth is not showing, it’s creating wear in the teeth that do show and dramatically altering the smile.
3. It can affect existing dentistry
The added stress that you place on your existing teeth, and existing dentistry such as crowns and veneers, can lead to chipping and breaking. For this particular patient, she was a high risk for chipping dental crowns in the front of her mouth. This can be a big problem, and some patients end up breaking those restorations off at the gumline.
While a missing side tooth does not show, it does contribute to overall dysfunction. This creates a domino effect that leads to wear and creates issues that hinder longevity. As you can see, replacing this missing tooth was important to helping this patient keep her teeth until she is 100.
Have a Missing Tooth?
If you have a missing tooth and considering your options, we invite you to schedule an appointment with our dentist office in Brandon, FL. We’ll be happy to go over your treatment needs and establish a plan that works for you.