Replacing missing teeth is important for many reasons – including, of course, preserving your smile! The decision to remove a tooth isn’t ever a pleasant choice. Often, your dentist or oral surgeon will present this option if cavity treatments or root canal surgery aren’t on the table. If the decision to remove a tooth is made, you’ll want to consider the following key reasons to replace the affected tooth, rather than leaving an empty socket.
While this is a cosmetic concern, and certainly not the most important from an oral health standpoint, having a pleasant smile and a beautiful set of teeth is a confidence builder. Nice teeth help you feel better about yourself and can often drive additional confidence that acts as an enabler or a motivator. One of the first things a new acquaintance notices about you is your teeth, so replacing a missing tooth can go a long way toward driving a positive first impression.
The tooth that is positioned opposite from your missing tooth is under a lot of pressure. This tooth has always had its opposing tooth to act as a backstop during chewing, as well as a firm counterpoint in which to maintain proper tooth alignment. The empty tooth socket isn’t supporting the existing tooth that sits opposite in the jaw, which may eventually lead to severe alignment issues with the remaining tooth. Teeth can rotate out of place – possibly mandating additional surgeries down the road.
A missing tooth can cause jaw alignment issues as well as the potential for infection in the jaw. An empty tooth socket can trap quite a lot of food, leading to problems with chewing properly as well as the possibility of food buildup in the socket. Chewing may eventually become uncomfortable on the side that is missing a tooth, leading many patients to chew more heavily with the other side of the mouth. This can cause an imbalance in the jaw and lead to pain and discomfort down the road.
The decision to replace a missing tooth includes more than just the cosmetic factor. Jaw health and the well-being of the gums and surrounding teeth must also be considered. Besides the obvious health benefits of replacing missing teeth, it is important to balance the benefit of having a nice smile. While it may not deliver any appreciable health benefits on its own, having a set of teeth you can be proud of is good for anyone’s mental health. It feels good to look great.