Let the Whales Migrate, Not Your Teeth

Smiling blond woman wearing a striped shirt Lots of us lose a tooth. Maybe we took a puck in the kisser during a pond hockey game. Maybe we had a tooth with so much decay it had to be removed. Whatever the reason, 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. You read that right. 

After a person loses a tooth, they often wait to replace it, especially if the tooth is in an inconspicuous place such as in among the molars. Often that initial delay leads to not ever getting the tooth replaced. After all, it’s just a missing tooth, right? Wrong. Waiting or not having a missing tooth replaced can have serious results. 

Dr. Smith and Dr. Feng want our patients to know the “why” behind our procedures at Pound Ridge. Here’s the reason why we want you to replace that missing tooth with an implant or a bridge. 

Migrating teeth

Don’t think that Canadian geese are the only things that migrate. When you leave a gap in your teeth, the teeth on both sides of the gap tend to try to move into the gap to fill it. This happens when they no longer have pressure from the teeth on both sides to stay in place. This makes the teeth misaligned and can create problems with chewing, your bite, and even speech. It can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder. 

Jawbone erosion

Jawbone erosion is another possible consequence of tooth loss. In normal conditions, the biting and chewing pressure produced by a tooth stimulates the underlying jawbone to continue regenerating new bone mass. The absence of this bite force energy when you’re missing a tooth creates a spot in the jaw that doesn’t receive the energy and the jawbone can start to degrade in that spot. As jawbone atrophy progresses, it can affect the appearance as the lower third of the face can collapse inward, a characteristic you’ve seen in older people missing most or all of their teeth. Jawbone atrophy will also affect the eventual replacement of the tooth with a dental implant, as the jawbone will need a bone grafting procedure to regain enough mass to support the implant. 

Dental implants

A dental implant is the preferred tooth replacement method at Pound Ridge Cosmetic Dentistry. An implant is basically a titanium screw that is placed into the jawbone in the hole from the former tooth root. The bone is then allowed to grow around the implant, making the implant a part of the jaw. A post is attached to the implant and an artificial tooth is attached to the post. The false tooth then feels and functions exactly like the natural tooth that was there before. It stops the adjacent teeth from migrating, and it stimulates the jawbone just like a real tooth. Plus, it completes your smile beautifully.  

So, let’s leave the migrations to the reindeer in Finland and not your teeth. If you’re missing a tooth, give us a call at Pound Ridge, (914) 764-3540, and let’s talk about replacing it.


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