How a Missing Tooth Impacts Your Health

Have you lost a tooth to decay, disease, or trauma? Maybe you bit down on a cherry stone, or were playing sports, or perhaps you ignored a cavity a little too long. Whatever the reason, you're now missing a tooth, and the problem seems to be spreading.

At Fairfax Family Dentist in Fairfax, Virginia, Dr. Padmaja Yalamanchili sees patients every month who have lost one or more teeth and are seeking a dentist in the Northern Virginia area for help. Many of them thought their missing tooth was originally a minor issue, but then the teeth next to the gap started to shift. 

What happens when you lose a tooth 

The roots of your teeth are embedded in the jawbone and stimulate your bone as you chew, talk, and bite. Bone is living tissue, and when you lose a tooth, the jawbone it was embedded in loses stimulation. Without stimulation, the bone slowly starts to dissolve at the point where the tooth used to be.  

Your teeth are formed into arches in the upper and lower jaws. These arches are like bridges, each tooth supporting and supported by the teeth on either side. When you lose a tooth, the integrity of the arch is lost, and teeth begin to migrate towards the gap.

The combination of teeth shifting and bone loss means the teeth adjacent to the gap get loose, and fall out, and then the ones next to those. Eventually, just from the loss of a single tooth, you can become completely edentulous (toothless.) 

Filling the gap with a dental implant

While a bridge can be placed to span the gap between teeth and keep adjacent teeth from drifting, it won't stop the bone loss, which will spread and cause more teeth to be compromised. However, there is a solution. 

The perfect tooth replacement is a dental implant, which is a titanium post that can be implanted into the bone where your original tooth's root used to be and then covered with your gums. The bone is stimulated, and grows around the new "root" in a process called osseointegration. 

Once the post is firmly in place, Fairfax Family Dentist can open the gum to place an abutment,  which is a connector that supports your new crown. The crown can be made from a strong porcelain material that looks and feels just like your original tooth. 

Even if you are missing several teeth, a single post can support more than one restoration. In fact, a whole arch of teeth could be replaced with just four dental implants forming implant supported dentures!

Are you are missing one or more teeth? Don't let the progression continue. Call our office at 703-213-5312, or use our convenient scheduling tool to book your appointment online today. 

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