A missing back tooth can start a chain reaction over years that in extreme cases could lead to the loss of all teeth. Back teeth (molars) are chewing teeth.
Back teeth keep growing (erupt) and tilt and drift towards the front of the mouth if there’s a gap. If one tooth is missing, the opposing tooth moves into its place, teeth further back tilt and drift to where the opposing tooth was and so on.
Tilted teeth soon develop gum pockets along their front root. Gum pockets are abnormal deep, narrow spaces that form between the gums and the root surface. These pockets trap food debris and bacteria. They are very difficult to clean and are, therefore, constantly inflamed.
The jawbone next to the constantly inflamed gums will also become inflamed. Inflamed jawbone softens and slowly begins to disappear. This is called periodontal disease and leads to tooth looseness and eventual tooth loss.
In this hostile environment of plaque, gum and periodontal diseases, decay will soon follow, especially on the exposed roots of the over erupted teeth. Unchecked decay allows bacteria to enter the pulps (nerves) of teeth. This will lead to abscesses, which combined with the looseness of the teeth (mobility), will mean the only solution is to extract the teeth.
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