Why replace a Tooth?
November 22, 2021
Are you missing a tooth? Do you think it is essential to replace the tooth? Yes, It is important to replace it, and our ILMS Dentist talks about why.


Dr Cornel De Klerk

The main reasons why it is so important to replace missing teeth is to prevent the following:

  1. Over-eruption of the opposing tooth
  2. Forward or backward drifting of the teeth on either side of the extracted tooth.

What does it mean when a tooth becomes over erupted?

When teeth start to erupt, they will move until they meet their opposing tooth in the middle. When a tooth is extracted, the opposing tooth no longer has an opponent to keep it in place and therefore starts to move again. It will then appear as if the tooth is “growing longer”. See the picture to the left.

What does it mean when teeth drift forward or backwards?

In general, your teeth are aligned in such a way that they lie in close contact with one another. When a tooth is removed, space will be available for the adjacent teeth to either collapse forward or backward, as illustrated in the picture to the right.

What are the consequences of over erupted and forward/backwards drifted teeth, and how long does it take for drifting to occur?

When left too long, the change in position of the teeth can lead to discrepancies in the way the teeth fit into one another.

  • Jaw joint problems (Tempero-mandibular disorders)
  • Excessive tooth wear
  • Food impaction may eventually lead to gum disease and tooth decay.

Tooth drifting can start immediately after extractions, and if left for months-years, it may be necessary to move the teeth back into their original positions, which is costly and time-consuming.


The below video is a good graphic presentation of this process.

(Not for sensitive viewers)