Dentist Questions Missing Teeth

Can a missing tooth cause problems in my mouth?

I lost a tooth last year, but it's not very noticeable and I'm thinking about leaving my mouth as it is. Can a missing tooth cause problems in my mouth?

12 Answers

In the long-term, teeth will start shifting, gaps. If you can replace with an implant and try never to lose your teeth again.
Yes it can.
Yes keeping the space will cause your other teeth to begin shifting and eventually lead to more tooth loss. So we always recommend replacing missing teeth.
The simplest answer is... it depends. Sometimes when you have a tooth missing, adjacent teeth can tip or shift. If this happens, this may affect your bite and make it difficult to chew properly. In some cases the tooth opposing the missing tooth may come out more (overerupt). In these cases, the teeth adjacent to the overerupted tooth may start trapping more food and be more prone to cavities as a result of the shifted tooth. Even if
you chose not to replace the missing tooth, I would recommend getting the area checked on a regular basis by your dentist.
Yes, it can cause shifting of your teeth and change your bite
It won’t cause any problems but you will lose bone with time. This decreases the possibility of implants over time. Also over years other teeth will begin to shift. Many people leave these sites alone with no problems however.
Yes, traditionally a missing tooth will cause the others near the missing tooth to breakdown much quicker causing more tooth loss.

Dr. K
Good day,

If you look from two aspects, appearance and function (speaking and eating), and does not bothers on either of the aspects, it’s fine to leave it as it is. However, just keep in mind that the opposing tooth and adjacent teeth may shift towards space within times.

Kind Regards,

Dr. Chun-I Lee
Not in most cases. Depending on which tooth, your age, position of other teeth and bite it may be completely fine. In some cases the teeth on either side or opposing teeth can migrate into that space and change your bite.

Dr Jensen
A missing tooth MAY cause several problems, depending on the location. If it is a tooth at the very end of the arch, there are too many problems associated with the loss, except for possible over eruption of the tooth that it was functioning with in the opposite arch. If the loss, regardless of where it is, causes a change in the way you chew, then there may be problems arise in the jaw joints. A missing tooth between other teeth can cause the gradual shifting of the teeth surrounding and on-site the space. As more teeth are lost, the remaining teeth have to take a great work load and will eventually have more boneless and tooth wear than would be expected.
A missing tooth can cause many problems if not replaced:

1) A missing tooth is esthetically unpleasing & tends to make you look older.
2) Depending on its location a missing tooth can cause your cheek to cave inwards in that area.
3) The teeth that are adjacent to a missing tooth often start to shift into the empty area. These teeth when tipped can cause periodontal problem areas in the bone.
4) As the adjacent teeth shift, then the next teeth also tend to shift creating a mouth full of spaces.
5) The opposing tooth will tend to grow down or up (depending on which arch the missing tooth is in)until that tooth touches one of the other teeth. This will cause a problem with your occlusion & pose problems when you finally decide that you want to replace the missing tooth. There won’t be enough room to place a normal-sized replacement tooth.
6) When one tooth hangs down below the rest of the teeth, your smile will be uneven & not attractive.

You should always try to replace a missing tooth if possible with either an implant & crown (preferred) or a bridge or a removable partial denture.

Carrol Fenn, DDS

Missing teeth exists in a large number of the population. Replacements can be with implants, bridges or dentures including combinations of them. We do encourage replacement of missing teeth (except wisdom teeth), but especially first molar onwards. Missing teeth may cause supra-eruption (opposing tooth to continuously grow due to lack of opposing force), tilting and movement of other teeth. It may lead to chewing inefficiency and gum issues (recession and bone loss at site of missing tooth). Do realize these don’t occur overnight but over months and years.
Hope this helps.