Ask a Dentist

May 14, 2020

Q: What happens if I don’t get a missing tooth replaced?

Model of teeth with one tooth missing, sitting beside a toothbrush and floss

A: There are a few ways you can lose a tooth: through an accident, tooth decay and gum disease. Tooth replacement means more dental work. If you choose to not have your missing tooth replaced, there are a few possible consequences including malocclusion, bone resorption and super eruption.

Malocclusion is a condition that affects the alignment of your teeth and bite. When you have a gap in your bite, the surrounding teeth may shift to try to fill the space. This can cause partial gaps between other teeth and crooked teeth. It may become harder to keep your teeth clean, leading to an increase in cavities, gum disease and bone loss. The shift in your bite can also cause a change in how you eat, which can increase your risk of jaw pain. 

Bone resorption and bone loss can occur when there’s a missing tooth because your body no longer has the support in that area of your mouth. Your teeth help stimulate the area - as you bite down, the force creates a physical stimulus. Without that stimulus, your body begins to signal that that area of the jaw is no longer needed, and bone regrowth slows down.  This bone loss can result in facial changes which can become more apparent over time; your lips and cheeks may start to sink in or shift.

Super eruption occur when neighbouring teeth (either beside or in on the opposing arch) try to compensate for the missing tooth by filling in the gap. Without another tooth to stop it, the neighbouring teeth can emerge too far from your jaw. Super eruption can cause problems, not only aesthetically, but also with your oral health. Because the tooth has erupted further from the jawbone, the amount of remaining tooth structure in bone is too minimal to hold the tooth in place. The tooth becomes loose and may require extraction. Super erupted teeth can also change our bite, cause uncomfortable chewing, jaw pain and headaches.

If you’re looking for treatment options for a missing tooth, we’re here to help, book an appointment at either of our two dental clinics located in Winnipeg. Most of the time, we can accept emergency patients.