A stitch in time

27 June 2010 . Posted by Sarah in Smile Stories

Many of us think that if a tooth is lost at the back of the mouth, that it is not really a big deal. As long as nobody can see it when you smile, it doesn‘t really matter, right?

Dr Cameron Arnold sees things a bit differently.

“A lot of people who have a tooth removed say, “It’s down the back of my mouth, don’t worry about it. You can’t see it, so there is no consequence.” But that is so far from the truth,” says Cameron. “You lose those posterior teeth and it has an impact on the rest of your mouth.”

Sandy, who moved to Townsville 12 years ago, couldn’t agree more. “I’ve gone with an implant because I had a tooth removed on one side and I know how uncomfortable it can be to have a tooth missing in your mouth. It’s also a situation that I would rather look after my teeth now then lose them later.”

So apart from the constant awareness of a space between your teeth, what are the implications of leaving a gap between teeth?

"When a tooth is lost, it may cause neighbouring teeth to tilt into the empty space which creates mal-alignment of teeth. This can lead to food getting stuck in awkward spaces between the teeth causing tooth decay and gum disease,” says Cameron.

“Not only that but tilted teeth are not able to withstand the forces of chewing well, so these teeth may slowly become loose. That means more teeth will be lost.”