What Is The “Domino Effect” Of Tooth Loss?
It starts with the loss of a single tooth. Maybe it was an injury. It could have been a cavity or gum disease. Why it happened isn’t important: the important part is that a tooth has been lost. Without intervention it won’t be the only one – you can trust us on that.
Fighting tooth loss is part of our daily goal at Overmeyer Family Dental. We’re always combatting the “domino effect” that happens to patients when they lose their first tooth. It’s a slow moving fall, but tooth after tooth will be taken down. That is, unless you do the right thing.
What Happens When Just One Tooth Falls Out?
That first tooth, regardless of how its lost, triggers an effect in your body called resorption. Without much reason for that bone to be there – it was, after all, just supporting that tooth – it begins to disintegrate. More and more bone is lost until most of the socket is completely gone. If it stopped there we wouldn’t have a problem, but you can guess what’s coming next.
Bone resorption keeps going, eventually starting to affect the bone that supports the neighboring teeth. You won’t notice anything at first – your mouth will keep functioning normally until you start to realize the teeth on either side of the lost one are starting to loosen, or your bite has changed just a little bit. That’s when trouble begins.
Loss of bone makes those two teeth want to come together to close the gap. They keep moving, which then makes the teeth on the opposite arch start to shift as well – your natural bite is becoming disrupted!
Those two moving teeth bring others along with them, but here’s the worst part: they’ll probably never meet in the middle. The continued bone loss along with your teeth moving and loosening leads to tooth loss well before your mouth finds a new equilibrium.
And here we find ourselves deep in the throws of the domino effect. The sequence we just described repeats itself over and over again on each tooth in your mouth, eventually resulting in the loss of more and more of them. It’s a scary process, and if you don’t treat tooth loss right away it could be an inevitable one!
Why Does The Domino Effect Happen
Think of the structure of an arch – each brick in that arch has a distinct role to play in keeping it sturdy. Remove one and the whole thing comes tumbling down unless you replace it. The structure of your mouth is pretty similar: each tooth is just a little bit different, and they’re shaped to fill a specific role in eating and keeping your mouth sturdy.
Each brick (or tooth) that comes out needs to be replaced with something equally as strong. In the past we would treat lost teeth with a bridge. Bridges only replace the part of the tooth you can see, which means that they’re not doing much to actually stop the bone loss and future problems that come with the loss of a tooth. A bridge can definitely make a huge difference, but they aren’t the ideal choice for permanent, functional treatment.
How To Stop The Domino Effect
The only way to truly stop bone loss and trouble with other teeth in the future is by replacing the lost tooth from root to crown. Modern dental technology has provided us with the perfect tool for doing this in the dental implant.
Implants are designed to perfectly mimic the structure, function, and role that each tooth plays in your mouth. They start with the placement of a titanium implant right into the spot where your missing tooth once was. Titanium is used because it has the unique ability to bond to bone with a strength just as great as a natural tooth. This ensures your implant will last for life as long as it’s taken care of.
Implants are restored with crowns that are perfectly matched to the look of your natural teeth. By the time the placement of your crown is complete and your implant is finished you’ll be amazed at how real it looks!
Don’t Ignore A Lost Tooth
Where there’s one lost tooth there will be others – we can guarantee it. Don’t end up wishing you’d taken action after it’s too late. We can stop the domino effect and restore your smile in one fell swoop with dental implants!