Gaps Are Good for the Green Mountains, Not Your Teeth
While Smuggler’s Notch may be famous for its skiing, it actually was a mountain pass used by runaway slaves to escape into Canada. This gap between Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak proved very valuable then and now.
Gaps in your teeth, however, have no such benefit. That’s why we encourage our Kalil & Kress patients to always replace a missing or extracted tooth. Here’s why.
Why the gap?
Sometimes a tooth gets knocked out in a pickup football game or a pond hockey game. Other times, a tooth has so much decay (a result of a long time between dental appointments) that there is no way to adequately remove the decay and save enough of the tooth to keep it. Even a root canal can’t save it. This tooth will need to be extracted.
So now, whether due to trauma or extraction, there is a gap in your teeth.
What’s the big deal?
Many people choose to leave a gap in their teeth, opting to not replace the missing tooth. This is especially true if the missing tooth is one of their molars. While this may seem innocuous, it’s a bad idea. Here’s why:
- Teeth like to slide — Teeth remain in position due to the pressure placed upon them by the teeth next to them. You can equate it to people sitting on bleachers at a crowded football game. As soon as a person leaves his or her seat, the people on each side slide over into the gap. Your teeth do the same thing when a tooth is missing. But when the adjacent teeth slide over, this now creates problems with your overall alignment and your bite.
- Jawbone degeneration — Most people don’t know that a missing tooth or two aren’t just a cosmetic issue; they are a jawbone issue. That’s right. When you bite and chew, a tremendous amount of bite force energy is created. This energy transfers down through the teeth into the jawbone where they are anchored. This energy constantly triggers the jawbone to shed old bone cells and to create new bone mass. This is how the jawbone stays healthy. When it doesn’t receive this energy from the teeth above, the jawbone in that area instantly begins to resorb, or degenerate. That’s why people missing all or most of their teeth often appear as if their jawbone is collapsing backward.
- No nuts for you — People missing a molar or two tend to avoid foods that are hard to chew or could get down into the gums when chewing. This means foods like nuts and raw fruits and vegetables may be taken off the menu. That’s bad for your health.
- Not whistling a tune — Depending on where you are missing the tooth, there are obvious cosmetic issues. No one wants to appear as if they are ready to be an extra in a Deliverance remake. Missing teeth also frequently cause whistling sounds when a person is talking.
Bottom line, there isn’t anything good about not replacing a missing tooth. At Kalil & Kress, we place dental implants and bridges to replace missing teeth and keep our patients’ smiles looking great. If you’re missing a tooth, let’s talk. Call us at (603) 880-7004 to make an appointment.