1. TILTINGTeeth on either side start to move into the gap via tilting – food gets stuck between the teeth and the area becomes very prone to gum disease and the gum disease progresses to periodontal disease and eventually the teeth adjacent to the gap are lost and the gap widens and becomes more difficult to restore.
2. OVER ERUPTIONThe opposing tooth to the gap will also start to come down (teeth look longer) and this elongated tooth will have its root exposed which results in sensitivity. The area that is exposed is dentine rather than enamel, dentine is soft and very prone to decay, and this is important in patients with poor oral hygiene and high sugar intake.
3. BONE LOSSBone loss will start to occur in the area as soon as 4 weeks which will cause a sunken effect look in the gums.
4. CHANGE IN BITE
The gap results in imbalanced forces within the bite itself forcing patients to change their jaw posture to cope with chewing and this can lead to TMJ problems which come in the form of: tooth fractures (due to the fact of undesirable force balances within the bite), grinding because of ‘displaced’ teeth, headaches and ear aches.
Our teeth are also like nutcrackers, they are designed to have more force distributed amongst the back teeth as they are much larger teeth than front teeth and they are more anchored – having 2-3 roots compared to 1 root for the front teeth. Once we lose back teeth, we still bite and chew with the same amount of force but onto the front teeth which have less chewing surface area! As you can imagine the greater force on a smaller surface area tends to cause more wear and fractures or cracks to occur.
5. INCREASED FORCE
The increased grinding can result in one single tooth taking too much biting force in the bite a diagnosis called Traumatic occlusion which will need endodontic treatment or extraction.
6. Altered Facial Appearance:
Your teeth play a crucial part in supporting the structure of your face. That is why missing teeth, especially full tooth loss, can result in sunken cheeks and a droopy facial demeanour, making a person appear older than they are.
7. Nutritionary Deficiency
Normally 90% of food that we chew fits through a size No. 12 Sieve. This is reduced to 58% in patients wearing complete dentures in a 15-year time frame. Studies on denture wearers show that 29% are able to eat only soft or mashed foods, 50% avoid many foods at 17% claim they eat better without the denture. You may eventually give up eating certain types of food or choose to eat only soft foods if your missing teeth cause discomfort when you bite or chew. In the long term, your general health may be jeopardised since your body is deficient in essential nutrients for healthy living.