Why Should I Replace A Missing Tooth? by Hunt Valley, MD Dentist Dr. Joel Nathanson.
Why Should I Replace A Missing Tooth?
There are a number of reasons why a patient would want to replace a missing tooth, even a tooth that’s not one that shows in front of their smile. The first reason is for function. Teeth are designed to work together as a unit. It’s kind of like the fingers on your hand. If you’re missing a finger, you might be able to use your hand most of the way. Teeth are the same thing. They’re designed to work as an entire unit. And missing one means that you’re going to chew less efficiently and be less healthy.
Another reason for replacing a missing tooth is to help to preserve the bone in that area there. When a tooth is taken out, the bone tends to erode in that area and you could end up with a pit that will trap food. It will also compromise the support of the adjacent teeth. If a tooth is missing and the bone goes down, the teeth that are on either side of the space there will have less support and they’ll be in danger of being lost as well.
The other reason for replacing a missing tooth is so that the other teeth on either side of the space won’t drift. Nature does not like a vacuum. And when you have a space where a tooth should be, the other teeth start to drift into that space. That can throw your bite off and you could end up with problems with your jaw joint, which could be very, very complex and in some cases, almost impossible to treat effectively. So if you have a missing tooth, even if it’s a back tooth, you really should consider replacing it.
Our Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Effective 5 P.M today (03/24), the Maryland Department of Health issued a directive stating that health care providers “shall perform only medical procedures that are critically necessary for the maintenance of health for a patient. All elective and nonurgent medical [and dental] procedures and appointments shall cease effective at 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 24, 2020 and shall not be performed for the duration of the catastrophic health emergency.”
So the question you may have in response to this is “What would be considered an ‘urgent’ condition for which I SHOULD seek treatment?” To answer this question with regard to dental emergencies, the American Dental Association (ADA) has published the following guidance:
Dental care that you should have taken care of by a dentist at this time:
Bleeding that doesn’t stop
Painful swelling in or around your mouth
Pain in a tooth, teeth or jaw bone
Gum infection with pain or swelling
After surgery treatment (dressing change, stitch removal)
Broken or knocked-out tooth
Denture adjustment for people receiving radiation or other treatment for cancer
Snipping or adjusting wire of braces that hurts your cheek or gums
Biopsy of abnormal tissue
Dental care you can reschedule for another time:
Regular visits for exams, cleanings, and x-rays
Regular visits for braces
Removal of teeth that aren’t painful
Treatment of cavities that aren’t painful
If you do have a true dental emergency (as described above), call your dentist or contact our office. STAY SAFE!