Originally Published: September 4, 2018 9 p.m.
When patients are faced with a severe tooth problem that may require a costly and complex dental treatment plan, I am often asked “would it negatively impact my oral health if we just extract the tooth?”
I understand that individuals ask this question not because they want to remove a tooth, but because dental procedures can come with a hefty price tag that can be overwhelming and a deterrent to receiving the necessary treatment. After all, “I have 28 of these things, what could it possibly hurt to live with 27, or 26 or 25 or (so on and so on)?” I realize that many patients are not aware of the long-term effects of missing a tooth, and therefore it is my aim help individuals make an informed decision, not solely a financial one. A tooth extraction may be the most inexpensive option today, but it may result in a much higher cost down the road.
Teeth do so much more for us than just aid in chewing food. They play a vital role in supporting healthy jaw joints and promoting pain free jaw and facial muscle action. Jaw muscles can be very sensitive and are only happy when they function within the zone of efficiency. The zone of efficiency is when the jaw muscles expend the least amount of energy and resources to perform the greatest amount of work. Teeth and jaw joints are intimately responsible for creating the zone of muscle efficiency. When any changes alter the system, the result can be jaw pain, chronic facial pain, and headaches.
Another important role that teeth play is to disperse and dissipate energy and forces that arise during muscle contraction. Human jaw muscles contract with upward of 200 square foot pounds of force. That is a lot of energy. In a perfect scenario, if a person possesses 28 teeth, then each tooth would be responsible for dispersing 7-1/8 square foot pounds of force. Usually, a few teeth in the bunch carry more than the fair share of the weight. With each tooth that is lost, the workload from that missing tooth is transferred to some other tooth or teeth. This is the reason people feel an odd change in bite or sore teeth after a tooth removal. Consequences of excessive force on teeth or the jaw can include weakening of other teeth, excessive bite forces cutting off blood supply to the living tissue in other teeth, damage to supporting bone, dental restorations cracking or breaking.
Teeth play a vital role in speech patterns, and therefore removing a tooth could affect the way you speak. The three most difficult syllables to pronounce in the English language are S, T and TH, all of which can be pronounced only when the tongue interacts properly with teeth. The S syllable requires interaction with both front and back teeth. T and TH syllables interact primarily with front teeth. Speech becomes challenging for people that are missing teeth. Lastly, teeth can drift, shift, lean and move creating spaces, food traps, and off angle forces if one tooth is extracted. Remaining teeth will erupt into the missing tooth space. Air sinuses will drop when upper teeth are removed. This increases the risk for sinus infections. The bone that once supported the missing tooth will disappear and the support of the other upper teeth becomes compromised.
It is never too late to reverse the effects of missing teeth, and there are a variety of options that will work with your budget and lifestyle. There are permanent missing teeth solutions such as dental implants, less expensive options like dentures, or a combination of both with implant-retained dentures. Preventive care and replacing the tooth early is always going to be the least expensive option to treat dental problems long term.
If you are wanting to better understand your tooth replacement options, are missing teeth and are concerned about your dental future or are experiencing symptoms from missing a tooth make an appointment at Pro Solutions today. Call our office at: 928-776-1208 or visit our website at: www.prescottdentist.com.
We would also like to invite you to Pro Solutions Dental Group’s free Community Seminar. Empower yourself with knowledge and information about the secrets to keeping your teeth and the options you have for when they are gone.
What: Your Options for Missing Teeth Seminar
When: 6-7:30 p.m. Sept. 27, 2018
Where: Prescott Lakes Club House, 315 E. Smoketree Lane, Prescott AZ 86301
Register: Online at www.prescottdentist.com/seminar or call 928-776-0239
Eligible attendees will receive a certificate for a free 3D CT Scan and Consultation ($490 Value). Please bring your questions and your friends.