Missing teeth more about health than aesthetics - The Buffalo News
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Missing teeth more about health than aesthetics

Too many people think living with a lost tooth is no big deal. In fact, the long-term effects can make it a very big deal.

Not replacing a missing tooth increases the risk of losing the adjacent tooth, and the gap left from the lost tooth takes away stability and increases the possibility for this adjacent tooth to loosen and fall out.

It gets worse. A vast amount of bone loss can follow tooth loss, which can progress rapidly over time. Bone loss can affect the shape of the jaw, the bite and the future of your remaining teeth. You may find it difficult to chew food properly, and this can contribute to your health and diet, since you’re then limited in what you can eat. In turn, you may find yourself fighting obesity and even diabetes – due to a poor diet – caused by lost teeth.

If you wear dentures, you may develop the inability to use full or partial dentures, and you may even find denture wearing painful due to bone structure changes caused by a simple missing tooth.

Then there’s the matter of your facial muscles becoming out of shape or deformed. Your teeth and jaw act as a foundation for your facial muscles and bones. When the foundation starts to crumble, the shape of the remaining teeth, muscles and bone begin to change. In some cases, this can cause social embarrassment because the face becomes distorted or older looking.

Finally, bone loss beneath conventional bridges can cause food to become impacted, increasing the incidence of gum disease. And believe it or not, tooth loss can increase the possibility of heart disease and stroke.


Tooth replacement can be done in several ways. Among the methods are a tooth-supported bridge, a removable partial denture, or a dental implant.

Dental implants have quickly gained preference from oral surgeons and patients because of the long-term benefits. The up-front cost of a dental implant may be a little more, but over time, the implant becomes the better value. With normal care, implants can last for years without worry about failure.

Along with longevity, dental implants can be installed without destroying or sacrificing adjacent teeth. Other methods may require taking out an adjacent tooth for a bridge. Be it one tooth or several teeth, dental implants are definitely the preferred method of replacing missing teeth.


Implants are a dental restoration system composed of a titanium screw and a crown. The implant process includes drilling a small-diameter hole (pilot hole) for the titanium screw. Once in place, this screw holds the implant in place. Surgeons often use surgical guides when placing dental implants.

After the pilot hole has been drilled, the implant screw is placed. Once in place, the surrounding gum tissue is secured over the implant and a protective cover screw is placed on top to allow the site to heal. After healing is complete, the surgeon will attach an abutment, which attaches a crown to the implant. With the abutment in place, the surgeon then creates a temporary crown. The process is completed when the temporary crown is replaced with a permanent model.

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