Do you have a missing tooth? Plenty of people do. In fact, missing teeth are a common issue among adults. At the office of periodontist Dr. Leigh Kent, we often work with patients with missing teeth in Birmingham, AL. What many do not realize is that losing just one tooth can have widespread health ramifications. Below, consider the ways that a missing tooth affects your mouth and systemic health.

Bone Loss
When a tooth comes out on its own and is not replaced by a permanent, stable solution such as dental implants, the jawbone becomes reabsorbed into the body. This process leads to a sunken-in appearance at the site of the missing tooth. It can cause adjacent teeth to shift and drift, leading to further issues.

Gum Disease

Gum disease occurs when a build-up of bacteria attacks healthy gum, tooth and bone. Because the bacteria buries itself in the periodontal pockets between teeth, it cannot be removed or managed without the help of a dental provider. Individuals with missing teeth increase their likelihood of developing gum disease, which can spread through other parts of the body. Accordingly, gum disease has been linked to health concerns including cardiovascular events, concerns regarding diabetes, and low birth weight in infants.

TMJ Disorders
Tooth loss can make the teeth feel like they no longer fit together neatly. When your bite is offer, this is called malocclusion. Patients who experience this may begin to adjust the way they hold their jaws to regain a sense of comfort. However, long-term adjustments in the bite can lead to stress and strain on the TMJ, or the temporomandibular joint. Irritation and swelling of the TMJ can end in a TMJ disorder (TMD), a chronic condition that causes pain in and around the TMJ area.

Permanently Restore a Missing Tooth

Would you be interested in learning about proven methods to replace your missing teeth? Whether you want to discuss the benefits of bridges or the advantages of having dental implants placed, contact Birmingham, AL based Dr. Kent. Appointments at our office can be made by calling (205)-870-8341.