Are you missing a tooth? If you are, don’t worry — you’re in good company. According the American College of Prosthodontist, somewhere around 120 million Americans are missing teeth. Especially when you age, tooth loss is much more common than most people think. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.

Missing teeth, particularly any of the front ones, can be an embarrassing distraction from an otherwise lovely smile. And although tooth loss becomes more common with age, you don’t have to accept it as a part of life/dont-accept-tooth-loss-as-part-of-aging’ target=’_top’ rel=’noopener noreferrer’}}}}. Not only can it be an aesthetic problem, it can be a health risk, as well. Did you know that missing teeth can actually open up your mouth to further oral health risks?

Teeth Could Move

Your teeth’s stability is dependent on more than just healthy gums and a strong root. In fact, your teeth depend a lot on each other. Each tooth relies on the support of its neighbors for strength. That means that when one or more of your teeth loses a neighbor, it compromises that tooth’s stability, too. This is why sometimes when you lose a tooth, nearby teeth can shift to try and fill that space.

Unfortunately, this can lead to more gaps between teeth, and can allow teeth to shift into positions that aren’t healthy. Too much rearranging of the teeth in your mouth and you might end up with a bad bite, known more formally as malocclusion. Malocclusion can have a host of negative effects, including jaw pain, excessive tooth wear, and headaches, prompting you to seek orthodontic treatment like Invisalign/invisalign'}}}}.

Remaining Teeth Are under Pressure

Another way your teeth work together is in even distribution of the pressure from chewing. If you lose a few teeth, the remaining teeth may then be under additional pressure, since that pressure isn’t being evenly distributed anymore. For example, losing a back molar may look fine in terms of smile aesthetics, but those back teeth take on a lot of the heavy duty chewing work. With one gone, the others will have to shoulder more work. This can lead to excessive tooth wear, and can even cause chips or cracks.

Proper Oral Hygiene Gets Harder

If you’ve lost a tooth or two as a result of gum disease or decay, it’s possible that oral hygiene was already a challenge for you. The bad news is, once you’re missing teeth, it gets even harder. Those gaps between teeth can make it easy for food and debris to get caught, giving bacteria a safe haven to feed and form plaque. It can also become more challenging to reach all the nooks and crannies of your teeth with a toothbrush. This could even develop into gum disease.

Are you looking to replace one or more missing teeth with dental implants? Implant dentist Dr. Karthilde Appolon helps patients in midtown Manhattan to make their smile whole again. Please call 212-557-8668 today for an appointment at Appolon Dental Group in Columbus Circle.