Missing Teeth… No laughing matter
Dentists recommend that even a single missing tooth has to be replaced with dental implants. Many patients will follow the advice only if the missing one is a front tooth and mainly for aesthetic reasons. Dentists insist that every missing tooth has to be replaced because the following problems may occur:
Adjacent teeth movement
The mouth structure is strong because each tooth supports the ones next to it. If a tooth is lost this lateral support is lost and adjacent teeth may shift towards the empty space and by time they will become loose and fall out.
Jaw bone loss
The pressure of tooth roots into the jawbone provides a stimulus to bone cells that keeps them from dissolving away, due to what is called piezoelectric effect. If the root is missing the bone cells in the area start to die and the bone is dissolved. If several or all teeth are missing, the process may result in dramatic loss of jaw bone causing conditions described as jaw shrinkage and facial collapse. This is what gives a caved in look at the faces of some people and makes them look much older than they really are.
The major problem of bone loss, beyond the apparent aesthetic ones, is that any remaining teeth will eventually become loose and fall out, and that dentures will be hard to fit because there will be not enough bone to support them. Dental implants can act as the natural tooth roots providing the necessary pressure to the bone and preventing further bone loss.