Leave the Migration to the Snowbirds, Not Your Teeth

Dental ImplantsAt this time of year, there are many New Jerseyans who migrate to the warmer environs of Florida. That kind of migration to escape the winter sleet and cold makes sense. Even hummingbirds leaving Jersey and migrating all the way to Central America makes sense, although they could have saved some wing work and just pulled up in Key Biscayne.

But at Gentle Dental, there’s a type of migration we’re not fans of — tooth migration.

Sometimes when a person loses a tooth due to trauma or simply decay, they wait to replace the tooth, especially if it is in an inconspicuous place such as in among the molars. Often that initial delay leads to not ever getting the tooth replaced. The person thinks it’s no big deal; it’s just a single tooth, right? Wrong. Waiting or not having a missing tooth replaced can have serious results.

At Gentle Dental we want our patients to replace a missing tooth with an implant or a bridge. Here are the reasons for this.

Migrating teeth

Reindeer on Animal Planet aren’t the only things migrating. When there is a gap in your teeth, the teeth on both sides of the gap tend to try to move into the gap to fill it. This makes the teeth misaligned and can create problems with chewing and even speaking. In some cases, especially if the person is missing a few molars, it can affect what foods the person can eat, leading to nutritional problems.

Jawbone erosion

While you may be familiar with erosion of the Jersey Shore when a big storm hits, at Gentle Dental we’re more concerned with jawbone erosion. Jawbone erosion is another consequence of tooth loss. You don’t realize it, but the biting and chewing pressure produced by a tooth stimulates the underlying jawbone to continue regenerating new bone mass. The absence of pressure caused by a missing tooth can lead to loss of significant bone mass in the underlying jaw. As jawbone atrophy progresses, it can affect the appearance as the lower third of the face can collapse inward (think Keystone Light TV commercials). Jawbone atrophy will also affect the eventual replacement of the tooth with a dental implant, as the jawbone will need a bone grafting procedure to regain enough mass to support the implant.

Dental implants

At Gentle Dental, we think dental implants are the best answer to replace a missing tooth or teeth. An implant is placed into the jawbone in the hole from the former tooth. The bone is then allowed to re-grow around the implant. Then a titanium post is attached to the implant and an artificial tooth is attached to the post. The false tooth then feels and functions exactly like the natural tooth that was there before. It stops the adjacent teeth from migrating, and it stimulates the jawbone just like a real tooth.

Let your in-laws do the migrating to Ft. Lauderdale, not your teeth. Call the team at Gentle Dental, (732) 549-5660, and let’s discuss replacing your missing teeth.

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