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What happens if I don't replace a missing tooth?

There's always a chance when you don't replace a missing tooth, that your remaining teeth become mobile.

That is, they drift towards the empty spot. And, that's not just the neighbouring teeth. We are also talking about the tooth that's supposed to bite against the missing tooth. Because it no longer has a 'partner' to meet with, it can sometimes lead to the condition called 'hyper-erupted tooth' or over-eruption.

If you're not sure what this will look like, imagine a nice, aligned set of teeth with one tooth missing. The ones directly beside that tooth will shift towards the empty space. And the ones beside those will also start to move. So you can imagine that over time, you'll have crooked teeth.

The mirroring tooth in the opposite arch will come out more, towards the empty space. It'll eventually stick out lower than all the other teeth if it's on the upper arch, or it'll stick out higher than the rest on the bottom arch.

This can cause problems to your bite, making it difficult to chew food thoroughly. Exposed roots may also be more susceptible to decay and sensitivity. If you eventually want to have a replacement, it can make things more challenging because the teeth are no longer straight and you'd have a hyper-erupted tooth impeding on the replacement. Orthodontics may be possible if the hyper-eruption is mild - but then you'd probably want to consider getting a replacement for the missing tooth after this treatment.

The good news is, shifting of teeth won't happen overnight. The bad news is, the likelihood of drift is high. The other bad news is: you might not notice until the change is dramatic (and at this point in time, might be costlier than if you had addressed it sooner).

There are also many options for dental replacements. Speak to your dentist about implants, bridges and dentures to see which option is best for you. And if you need a new dentist, we're still accepting new smiles! So, give us a call (416) 226-6688 for our Willowdale location or (416) 222-4762 for our Centerpoint location.


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