No matter how you lost your tooth, an implant will create a seamless and attractive alternative to your natural tooth. While that gap in your smile might have been the motivating factor that had you considering implants in the first place, the need to replace that tooth goes far deeper than many implant patients realize. To find out how a missing tooth can be so disruptive to your mouth, read on.
Getting to the Root of the Matter
It's amazing how the human body and its various parts rely on each to work properly. For example, if your jawbone senses that there is no tooth to support, it can actually begin to fall apart. The roots of your teeth are connected not just to your gums but to the underlying bone structure that makes your entire lower face look the way it does. Most people have witnessed the way softening jaws can create a sagging appearance in older people. The loss of a tooth can have the same effect on your appearance. It might take a few months, but eventually, your jaw bone will slowly begin to suffer from softening.
Why Acting Fast is Important
This issue might not just make a fairly young face appear older, it can also create problems with bone stability. To have an implant be successful, there must be enough stability in the jaw to anchor the implant. That is why many dentists order scans before they try to perform an implant procedure. For those without enough bone density to support an implant, the only option is to have an additional surgery — a bone graft. This is where bone is removed from somewhere else in your body and surgically grafted onto your jawbone. Patients also have the choice of using artificial substances for the graft.
Teeth Can Shift
In addition to the bone loss problem, a missing tooth can create issues for your surrounding teeth. Just like your jawbone, the other teeth sense when there is nothing beside, above, or below and can begin to loosen up and move around. This doesn't only affect the appearance of your mouth — loose teeth are an open invitation to decay and gum diseases.
Dentures and bridges only address part of the problem when a tooth has been lost. Dental implants, if obtained soon enough, preserves your jawbone and the structural integrity of your entire mouth. Speak to your dentist to learn more.