If It’s A Healthy Smile You’re After, Tooth Replacement Isn’t Optional

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA- A grin full of holes may be cute on a five-year-old, but missing teeth isn’t the best look for an adult. In fact, the aesthetic and dental health consequences of failing to address a missing tooth are downright ugly.

“If a missing tooth isn’t addressed in a timely manner, it can elicit a variety of serious dental health conditions, many of which call for extensive dental and orthodontic treatment,” says San Francisco dentist Dr. Robert Walley. “The one time cost of a restorative solution like bridges or dental implants will save you a considerable amount of money in the long term.”

Among the issues a missing tooth can prompt is mesial drift. This term is used to describe the tendency for teeth to shift towards the front of the smile. It’s a normal phenomenon, but mesial drift is greatly exacerbated when a tooth is missing. Surrounding teeth will tilt into the area where the tooth once was, causing the remaining teeth to follow suit and fall out of alignment. Orthodontic treatment is then necessary to reverse the effects of mesial drift, take pressure off the jaw joint caused by the misalignment and restore your smile’s appearance.

A super erupted tooth is another unfortunate outcome of one or more missing teeth. In reaction to a long-since missing tooth, this unsightly condition occurs when the absence of an opposing tooth structure triggers the tooth to jut upward, leaving its root exposed and the smile’s appearance altered. Extraction followed by replacement is commonly required to resolve a super erupted tooth. 

Furthermore, your jaw bone is engineered to anchor two complete rows of teeth. When one or more teeth are missing, it jeopardizes the integrity of the bone. That’s why failing to replace missing teeth often results in jaw bone deterioration and altered facial aesthetics. If the bone structure is weakened or severely deteriorated, it may be too damaged to support dental implants, the most highly recommended method of tooth replacement available.

“Dental implants offer an unrivaled level of functionality and permanence,” says Dr. Walley. “There are other great solutions available, but implants truly work like real teeth.”

The likelihood of acquiring gum disease also increases, since the tender portion of the gum that once supported the tooth is left susceptible to food particles and bacteria.

Whether your tooth loss can be pinned on years of bad oral hygiene habits, a dental condition or mouth trauma, don’t delay action. Our team at Robert M. Walley D.D.S. offer viable answers to tooth loss, like dental implants and bridges. Preserve the health and looks of your smile. Give us a call today to
learn more.