A single, lost or damaged tooth can greatly influence your daily life. Everyday we see patients with missing teeth. Sometimes they are teeth that have been recently extracted. Other times they have been missing for years. The reasons for missing a tooth may vary. But the answers about why to replace them are usually the same.
There are plenty of reasons to replace a missing tooth:
- A gap between your teeth, if obvious when you smile or speak, is a cosmetic concern.
- Depending on their location, some missing teeth may affect your speech.
- A missing molar might not be noticeable when you talk or smile, but its absence can affect chewing.
- When a tooth is missing, the biting force on the remaining teeth begins to change. As the bite changes to compensate for the lost tooth, there is a risk of extra pressure and discomfort in the jaw joints.
- If a missing tooth is not replaced, the surrounding teeth can shift.
- Harmful plaque and tartar can collect in new hard-to-reach places created by the shifting teeth. Over time, this may lead to tooth decay and periodontal disease.
WHAT IS A DENTAL IMPLANT?
- A dental implant is the best option for replacing a missing tooth.
- Implants are manufactured devices that are placed surgically in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as anchors for the replacement teeth.
- An implant looks and feels like a natural tooth.
- It fits securely when you chew and speak.
- A single-tooth implant is a free-standing unit and does not involve treatment to the adjacent teeth.
- With a dental implant, the surrounding teeth can remain untouched if they are healthy, and their strength and integrity may be maintained.
- The implant can stabilize your bite and help prevent problems with the jaw.
- First, the implant, which looks like a screw or cylinder, is placed into your jaw.
- Over the next two to six months, the implant and the bone are allowed to bond together to form an anchor for your artificial tooth.
- During this time, a temporary tooth replacement option can be worn over the implant site.
- Finally, a replacement tooth called a crown will be created for you by your dentist and attached to a small metal post, called an abutment.
- After a short time, you will experience restored confidence in your smile and your ability to chew and speak.
- Dental implants are so natural-looking and feeling, you may forget you ever lost a tooth.