Loss of one tooth, especially if it is outside the smile zone, and the resulting gap is invisible, does not seem to be a serious problem. Patients are in no hurry to perform implantation and prosthetics, they postpone treatment. Dentists do not recommend doing this: the longer the gap remains at the site of the lost tooth, the more severe the consequences are.
Destruction of bone structures
The supporting alveolar bone contains a cancellous substance that absorbs the chewing load. If at least one tooth is missing, this load changes. Remodeling begins in the bone: its structure, shape, and volume change. For it to remain dense, not deformed, it needs a constant load that will stimulate it. With adentia, the bone becomes less dense. The alveolar process (or the alveolar part with edentulous lower dentition) becomes narrower. The next stage of destruction is that the bone gradually loses its height. Without prosthetics in just a year, it decreases by 4 mm. The width is also reduced - by 25% of the original for the year. This process does not stop: if implantation is not performed, destruction will continue.
The installation of a bridge can only partially solve this problem. This design transfers the chewing load, which is perceived by the surface layer of the bone tissue. Deeper layers are left without constant stimulation. Because of this, blood supply deteriorates, the volume of bone tissue decreases.
With the loss of even one tooth, the alveolar bone is rebuilt and resorbed. In place of the hole, a narrow ridge is formed, going along its center. The formation of this ridge complicates prosthetics. When using a removable denture, it rests on the ridge and injures the overlying gum tissue.
Another consequence of reduced bone volume is an increased risk of injury. It increases, especially in the lower jaw. With a significant decrease in the volume of bone tissue, there is a possibility of its fracture in this area, even with minor injuries.
Not only the alveolar bone suffers from the lack of chewing load. Over time, the destruction begins to occur in the main jaw bone. This process is faster in the posterior parts of the lower jaw, where the destruction of up to 80% of the bone tissue is possible in the area of the hole.
Bone resorption changes the characteristics of the dentition:
- oblique ridges are formed on the jaw in the hyoid region. May be accompanied by the formation of local bedsore;
- changing the shape of the chin. In its front part there are two tubercles, which, when bone tissue is destroyed, can protrude forward;
- muscles are attached near the top of the ridge, which can provoke pain, discomfort;
- thinning of the mucous membrane, provoking discomfort even with eating or hygiene procedures;
- the formation of functional bedsores.
Changes in soft tissues
The attached soft tissues also change with a change in bone volume. The gums are reduced in volume and thinner. On the lower jaw, the layer of attached soft tissue can be very thin or almost absent.
Periodontal nutrition is disturbed, blood supply deteriorates. This further accelerates the destruction: the surface tissues become thin, prone to inflammation and irritation. In advanced cases, bedsores are formed. Destructive processes provoke the development of chronic periodontal diseases. These, in turn, can lead to the loss of adjacent teeth.
If the edentulous ridges of bone tissue on the jaw are already formed, the tongue can gradually increase in size: it fills the space that was previously occupied. With the loss of one tooth, such manifestations are minimal, if there are several gaps in the dentition, the increase in the tongue will be visible.
The presence of even one gap in the dentition can change the proportions of the face over time. Age-related aging processes accelerate, become more noticeable, intensify:
- due to resorption of the alveolar bone, the height of the face decreases;
- vertical lines become more visible in the lips and chin area, which makes the face look rougher;
- the bite gradually changes, due to which the proportions of the lips may be disturbed, the chin may change;
- with adentia on the upper jaw, the nasolabial groove deepens faster and more noticeably, which makes the face look older;
- the formation of a double chin is possible if the attachment of muscles to the body of the lower jaw is disturbed and their tone decreases.
Changing bite: adjacent teeth begin to shift to fill the resulting space. Because of this, the interdental spaces increase, the abrasion of the tooth enamel can accelerate.
With the loss of some teeth, diction changes, the patient cannot normally correctly pronounce several sounds. Problems with food intake: the dentition perceives the chewing load worse, the patient has to give up solid foods.
Decreased chewing efficiency changes the diet. A person begins to eat fewer fresh vegetables and fruits, fiber-rich foods, which provokes problems with the gastrointestinal tract, increases the load on other organs.
Anesthetic defect, a gradual change in proportions, facial features, diction disorders worsen the emotional state, provoke self-doubt.
In case of loss of one tooth, dentists recommend undergoing an examination, to assess the condition of bone tissue, periodontium, dentition. Even if a tooth was lost a long time ago, it can be restored using implantation. It effectively solves the problem of adentia also in the case of severe bone destruction: before implantation, bone grafting is possible, which will fill the missing volume.
It is necessary to take care of your teeth and keep the dentition in perfect order, regardless of age. Not only for the aesthetics of your appearance but primarily for your overall well-being. Therefore, if your dentition has thinned, we invite you to an appointment with an orthopedic dentist who will diagnose and offer several options for prosthetics for your case and wallet.