Hi, I’m Dr. Derrick Johnson of Integrated Dentistry. We do restorative and cosmetic and implant dentistry. I just wanted to answer a question today. It’s a question I hear a lot; I just heard it the other day. A patient asked me, they had said that they had lost a tooth several months ago. Nothing really was bothering them. They can’t see it when they smile. Was it a big deal? Anyway, I want to talk about that.
This is really helpful. It’s called Consult PRO. It’s a piece of software animation that really shows very nicely what happens. What’s the cause/effect relationship of losing a tooth? When we have a healthy arch with all the teeth, each tooth holds in the next tooth. What I mean by that is, is this tooth is held in place by these two; and actually, this upper tooth is holding that tooth in place. Let’s take a look. What happens when we lose a back molar?
Here, we’re going to see the loss of that molar. The first thing that starts to happen, is we start to get some drifting of those teeth. The other thing we start to see, is we start to get some bone loss. One of the functions of the jaw, the jawbone, is to hold teeth. When there’s no teeth in there, that bone resorbs and goes away. The longer that you’re missing a tooth, the more bone goes away, the more we start to get drifting.
Even the loss of one molar will change the look of your face, because your jawbone is what provides the support for your face. You’ve probably seen that, with people losing multiple teeth. The face starts to look a little sunk in; the person starts to look a little older. It’s really hard to get that back, and that’s why it’s important to catch this early. The earlier we catch it, the easier it is to treat.
The other thing that happens, is that molar was really important for chewing. Now, all the load that was on that tooth is getting redirected to other teeth. After you lose the first tooth, it’s even easier to lose the next tooth, and so on, and so on. A little bit of dental disease leads to a little bit more is the basic concept. The other thing that’s important is most dental disease doesn’t hurt. A lot of people are thinking, “Hey, nothing hurts, it must be okay.” There’s things that are happening under the radar that really are creating some advanced problems.
I hope that was helpful in answering your question, or in answering this person’s question, which a lot of people have asked me. If we can be of any further assistance, you can contact us at Integrateddentistry.com or call the office, and we’ll be happy to help you.