Why Even Have Missing Teeth Replaced? – Dental Implants, Etc…

Most adults can expect to have 32 teeth. The four third molars, or “wisdom” teeth, are often extracted because they do not grow into the mouth well or there is not enough room for them to remain in proper alignment. It is very unusual to have wisdom teeth replaced. But the other 28 teeth are needed.

Your mouth, jaw, and body developed together over millions of years. They are designed to operate together at peak efficiency. When you lose a tooth, the efficiency decreases and function suffers. When you lose a tooth, you lose some ability to chew food properly. This may mean that you either place more stress on the other teeth in order to chew all the food you eat, or you do not chew well enough and what is swallowed is not quite ready to be digested. This can lead to digestive difficulty. You might have to eliminate certain favorite foods because you cannot chew them thoroughly.

For each missing tooth, you lose approximately 10% of your remaining ability to chew food.

Other problems also occur. The teeth adjacent to the space left by the missing tooth will eventually shift.  If for example, a lower tooth is extracted, the opposing tooth in the upper jaw will grow slowly (or sometimes quickly) longer in a downward direction into the missing tooth space. This is called extrusion or supereruption. Here is an example:

Collapsed bite- need for dental implantsThe teeth on either side of the missing tooth space will move and tilt off their proper vertical axis and drift into the missing tooth’s space. This can make these teeth more prone to decay and gum disease because it is much harder to keep the teeth clean when they are not aligned properly.

Root structure that is normally covered by gum and bone may become exposed. All this can happen if one tooth is lost. Other major problems can occur if multiple teeth are lost. There is a loss of the arch length, the distance from the back of the last tooth on one side of your mouth to the back of the last tooth on the other side of your mouth.

With collapsed bite and loss of vertical dimension, the distance from your chin to the tip of your nose decreases, making your face shorter.

Extrusion and movement of your maxillary (upper) alveolar bone until the gum tissue from the upper jaw can touch the teeth or gum tissue of the other jaw causes loss of facial tone and shape. The facial muscles of the cheeks and mouth sink into the edentulous (extraction) site. There can also be severe cosmetic problems when the extracted tooth’s space is visible when you talk or smile. This is not a pretty sight to anyone.

There is loss of self-image and self-esteem and a feeling that you are getting old. Once you bone loss- need for dental implantsstart losing teeth, you can actually start to look old. Losing a tooth is pretty serious. The longer you wait after a tooth is extracted, the more difficult and expensive it can become to make the replacement you need. With very few exceptions, it is better to replace missing teeth as soon as possible. Evolution designed you to chew your food with 28 teeth.

I will discuss with you the best type of dental implant replacement that will restore your mouth to health. My office is located in Burbank, California.

You can choose to do nothing at all and leave the space or spaces…this is not usually recommended. You can have a fixed replacement made that could be an implant, a conventional bridge (crowns/caps), a dental implant overdenture or a combination of implants and bridges. The advantages of the fixed replacements are that they are not designed to come out of your mouth at any time, they are the easiest to live with, feel more like the original teeth, and are more cosmetic than removable dentures.

A removable partial denture is held in place by metal clasps that may be visible. It is bulkier and may interfere with your speech for a period of time. However, generally, dentures cost less than a fixed replacement.

Your jawbone and teeth were meant to function in a particular fashion. The interaction is complex and marvelous. Loss of teeth degrades this function. Preserve your health. Replace missing teeth as soon as possible!

Ramsey A. Amin, D.D.S.
Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology /Implant Dentistry
Burbank, California

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21 Responses to Why Even Have Missing Teeth Replaced? – Dental Implants, Etc…

  1. Aquarian says:

    Hi, I am a 22yr old young lady and i had was terrified of the dentist as a child as a result i am now missing a total of 10 teeth from my mouth.Molars on the bottom of each side of my mouth and also directly above the bottom teeth have all been extracted. I am very concerned with my face shrinking at such a young age.I dont socialize with friends much and i am currently dealing with severe depressing and anxiety. I also feel that my sinusus are damaged due to toothloss..Is the facial sagging reversable if i undergo implants? At this point i am totaly overwhelmed and i dont know where to begin to fix this problem..what do u suggest?

  2. Hi Aquarian,
    I suggest you get in the hands of a very skilled implant dentist.
    Follow the link on the upper left area of my blog to the American Board of Oral Implantology. You will find a very qualified dentist to help you get started.
    Dr. Amin

  3. Sandra says:

    Hello, Im 2o and I lost a tooth on the upper side of my mouth and its not visible, 8 years ago, is it possible to get a tooth implant? would it cause me to have a gap tooth? Thank you

    • Ramsey Amin DDS says:

      Hi Sandra,

      At your young age, replacing the tooth is VERY important. A dental implant will be your best bet for the long term.

      Good Luck!

      Ramsey A. Amin, D.D.S.
      Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology /Implant Dentistry
      Fellow-American Academy of Implant Dentistry

  4. Jonathon says:

    Dear Dr. Amin,

    I came to this dental implant blog to get much needed information and found what I was looking for. Thank you for your time and effort.

  5. Fernanda says:

    When I wa younger in Ecuador, I have a newbie as dentist. As every young girl, with the unkind hand of Mother Nature, I had crooked teeth; the logical step was to get braces. My teeth were improving so fast and it made me want to smile all day long. During the last stages of the braces, I was given elastic bands. I’m not quiet sure the man purpose of it but they were fun to have since I knew it was the first sign that I wa approaching the last weeks of braces. As I was playing with my other cousins, I got kneed int mouth. I felt a snap and the rubber band disapear. As soon as I could made my way to the dentist and told her of the issue. She tried to look for it but couldn’t find it. I went back home and I felt some uncomfortableness in my mouth. I went back to the dentist a few daya later and she said that she was going to open my gums and try to locate it. I was 10 years old with no adult a guidance and agreed to it. She cut open my gums and she was unable to find anything, she looked so long that I felt the anestisia wearing off and felt the needle go through my gums as she was closing up the wound. She did this 2 other times as I went back and told her that I felt something there. Nothing. Luckily that time I learned that I along with my brother were granted a visa and finally could see our parents. I came to the US and about 2 years of being in this country, I begged my parents to take me to the dentist. Since they didn’t have any health insurance, they saved as much money as they could, so I could go to the dentist. I depended on my older sister to try and make appointments since she was the only one that spoke English, after months nd months of begging and harrasing she made an appointment. My sister told them the issue and not even a minute of the dentist checking on me, he located the rubberband. I was shocked!!! The other dentist did 4 surgeries and could not locate it. The dentist told me that I lost bone structure in my gums and gave me instructions to take some pills. After a few months, made my way to the orthodontics and he told me that they have to remove my second middle tooth and shape my caninne into the second tooth and this has been my smile for over several years. I hate it. Hate it so badly. I want to know what my options are ?

    • Ramsey Amin DDS says:

      Hi Fernanda,

      Wow what a story! That is so unfortunate. I’m sorry this happened to you.

      I would really need to see you in person with x-rays to really diagnose you. Are you local to Burbank?

      Ramsey A. Amin, D.D.S.
      Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology /Implant Dentistry
      Fellow-American Academy of Implant Dentistry

  6. Ahmed says:

    I just had a bridge fixed but it does not touch the opposing teeth? What should I do?

  7. Ahmed says:

    Hi. I have just had a three unit bridge fixed. Two days after I put it in the porcelain chipped!!! I decided to go with a repair since a removal of the bridge might break the abutments since they are really weak and thin (with root canal treatment). This is not the only problem. The bridge (last three teeth on the upper right side does not touch at all the opposing teeth. So for the past three days I have had pain on the other side of my mouth since the pressure is much more I guess. Since a remake of the bridge is not an option what should I do? Can no contact between the bridge and the opposing teeth cause serious problems? What should I do? Please help as I feel desperate!

    Thanks a lot!

    • Ramsey Amin DDS says:

      Hello Ahmed,
      I feel so bad for you. Porcelain chipping can be caused by the way the dentist designed the teeth below, the laboratory design of your bridge, your bite and many many other factors.
      Porcelain is not easy to repair inside of the mouth. You may need to remake the bridge because your bite does not touch and the porcelain has chipped. I would suggest using a material called monolithic zirconia as long as it is in the back of the mouth. It is very strong and very chip resistant.

      Dr. Amin

  8. Rowena says:

    Amazing web page. Many techniques listed here. I wished I lived closer to Burbank. My dentist is still learning dental implants and is not a dental implant specialist like you.

    thank you for the help

  9. Lea says:

    I would like to ask if this also happens when a third molar is removed. I regret having my perfectly healthy (tried hard to keep it clean) though not ‘so’ well positioned tooth extracted. I so angry I was not consulted about it and had assumed there was caries and it had to be extracted. I am 25 and i dont want facial tone loss. I want to remain attractive to my husband:(. Should i think about a dental implant? Is it normal to extract a healthy third molar instead of a second molar which needs a filling? What my dentist did makes no sense to me:(. And i payed so much for this, thing which will make me look old, i am so dissapointed and sad:(. It has been 30 hours since the extraction and i have kept the tooth in milk. Is it possible for it to be inserted and grow back? Shall I keep the other one, will it not cause a shift and assymetry of my face? Why do dentists pull the teeth out if they are healthy, only slightly malpositioned?! These can be kept for later when another molar has to be extracted to fill in the space, am i not right? No implant will then br needed? Thank you very very much for an answer! Please, please, give me some suggestion about the remaining third molars, plus the one i have kept(can anything be done?)

    • Ramsey Amin DDS says:

      Hi Lea,

      Wisdom teeth are generally problematic in a huge percentage of the population. I had problems with my own and personally have all 4 removed. My wife and father also had all 4 removed. Generally speaking wisdom tooth surgery is straightforward and predictable with minimal chances of complications especially at your age of 25. You should have a second consultation so that another dentist can give you their opinion. Make sure you have a panoramic x-ray for this evaluation.

      Attached is a link to my website. I do remove wisdom teeth on a routine basis when it is deemed necessary.

      This blog is focused on dental implant surgery and restoration. That being said wisdom teeth are typically not reimplanted whether by natural tooth or by dental implant.

      Very respectfully

      Ramsey Amin DDS

  10. Murphy says:

    I feel uncomfortable, am having kind of bad breathe, before when i breathe from mouth, it seem like somebody died inside my mouth, smelled like hell, then later i started taking care of it, and brushed my mouth night and morning, when i talk i dont notice my breathe smell again @ all, now am having swolen gum problem around just one of my teeth, please help

    • Murphy says:

      The gum between two teeths, it grows out, makes it hard for me to make good word out, then later it will shrink into its position, and comes out again to give me headache, this is what am facing

    • Ramsey Amin DDS says:

      Hello Murphy,

      It sounds like you have an advanced case of periodontitis. This is gum disease which causes bone loss and is due generally to bacteria that remain on your teeth in the form of plaque. You need to get your hands into a good dentist ASAP. This is the number one leading cause of tooth loss in the world.

      Ramsey A. Amin, D.D.S.
      Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology /Implant Dentistry
      Fellow-American Academy of Implant Dentistry
      Burbank, California

  11. Nancy says:

    I’m 22 years old. I got my molar tooth pulled due to fractured tooth. And I was wondering if it’s possible to use my wisdom tooth as a replacement instead of getting a replacement done. And if so can I use braces to speed up the process of my wisdom tooth to come out. My wisdom tooth is already coming out and showing.

    • Ramsey Amin DDS says:

      Hello Nancy,

      Using a wisdom tooth to replace another tooth can be done in extremely unique situations. You have to be generally younger than 22 years of age. The wisdom tooth would have to be erupting and not really have too much of a root on it yet. This generally would only work for the second molar teeth.

      Is a clever idea that is used more in pediatric dentistry when a young child has to lose a second molar like tooth number 18 or 31. Sometimes the wisdom tooth will drift forward and replace it naturally.

      Sorry for the bad news.

      Ramsey A. Amin, D.D.S.
      Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology /Implant Dentistry
      Fellow-American Academy of Implant Dentistry
      Burbank, California

      • Karen says:

        Hi Dr Amin, I’m 14 and I have the same problem as Nancy and I was just wondering how long it would take for my wisdom tooth to grow into the space where my molar was.

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