Why replace missing teeth?

What happens when teeth are removed?  Often tooth removal results in drifting of adjacent teeth or eruption of opposing teeth.  Teeth tend to move until something prevents them from moving. As they move, they bring the attached bone and gum tissue with them, altering bone and tissue levels. Normally, every tooth should have an opposing tooth; a tooth above or below it that provides contact for chewing.  Drifting and eruption can result in loss of a proper bite for chewing food, open contacts that allow food impaction between teeth resulting in bone loss, or tipping of teeth that result in the formation of periodontal pockets.  Periodontal pockets are deeper than normal spaces beneath the gum-line that accumulate bacterial plaque and are difficult to clean and keep healthy.

Recently, I examined a patient because an upper tooth was erupting following the recent removal of the opposing lower tooth. The removed tooth was a back tooth, a second molar that the patient had elected not to replace with a dental implant.  Unfortunately, the eruption of the opposing tooth was causing a periodontal pocket to form and extraction was planned by the patient’s Dentist for this reason.  In this case, the loss of one tooth led to the loss of two teeth.  Had a dental implant been placed after the extraction, the opposing tooth could have been retained for a lifetime.

I recommend that tooth replacement options be carefully considered when teeth are removed.  Not replacing teeth can cause problems. For more info on how important this is, watch the “Effects of Single Tooth Loss” video below. (Find more videos regarding dental implants on this page: http://www.drcawhite.com/dental-implants/)

Effects of Single Tooth Loss