A large portion of the population will lose at least one adult (permanent) tooth in their lifetime. After this happens, a decision must be made. Should I replace it or not? This should almost always be a unanimous, yes.
People lose teeth for two main reasons. For the purposes of this article, we will exclude third molars (wisdom teeth) which are removed for any number of reasons. The first reason is large decay on a non-restorable tooth. In this instance, a cavity formed on a tooth and it has become so large that any amount of effort would not retain the tooth for the long term future. The other reason for tooth loss is periodontal disease which is basically bone support loss around teeth. Whichever reason you have for losing a tooth, it should be replaced as soon as possible.
The space caused by a lost tooth may allow the adjacent teeth to tip, rotate, or move into the space. This can further any periodontal (gum) issues as well as cause problems with the occlusion (bite). You can also have super-eruption of the opposing tooth. When a tooth does not have an opposing tooth or one that it meets when chewing, this tooth can continue to erupt out of the gums over time. You will then have exposed root which is more susceptible to cavities and collecting plaque. It can also cause problems with the bite.
The other main reason for replacing a missing tooth is the load that is shifted to the remaining teeth. Your teeth are made to except a certain amount of chewing and biting force. After you lose one tooth, that force is transferred to the remaining teeth. This change can put undue pressure on other teeth which may subsequently fail and be lost.
There are several options for replacing your teeth. You should consult with your dentist and determine which option is best for you to maintain that beautiful smile.
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