The Importance of Replacing Your Tooth

Dental_ImplantIt may not seem like a catastrophe if you’ve lost one or two teeth, especially if the missing teeth are not evident when you smile or talk. However, the loss of even one tooth can have serious consequences, and you should speak with your dentist about the options available for replacing it, including getting a dental implant.

Consequences of Tooth Loss

  • Your remaining teeth will shift. It’s a natural tendency for teeth to drift in your mouth if an adjacent tooth is lost – the remaining teeth will typically shift toward the front of the mouth and/or toward the opposing jaw, if nothing interferes with their movement.
  • Problems with your “bite” can lead to TMJ problems. Once you start experiencing the drifting of your remaining teeth, the way in which your upper and lower jaw fit together will change. The lack of alignment because of the missing teeth can cause stress and pain in your temporomantibular joint (TMJ).
  • Your jaw can experience bone loss. Jaws begin to lose bone mass over time if they do not have all their teeth. The process is called resorption and your jaw will lose both height and width if a dental implant is not placed in the jaw. Implants are the only treatment for missing teeth that prevent resorption.
  • The shape of your face may change. If you lose most or all of your teeth, the lower one-third of your face can appear to “collapse,” making it look older and wrinkly, and your cheeks to appear hollow and saggy.
  • It can become increasingly difficult to maintain good oral health. Once teeth shift out of alignment, it becomes harder to reach some parts of your mouth with a toothbrush or floss. The plaque and bacteria that becomes lodged there can accelerate periodontal disease and tooth decay.

Dental implants have become the treatment of choice for replacing missing teeth. Because the crown that replaces the natural tooth is anchored in the jaw, bone loss is prevented. The implanted tooth is stable and fills the gap, preventing other teeth from drifting. Implants do not require the alteration of adjacent teeth, as dental bridges do, and, best of all, dental implants look and function exactly like natural teeth.

“Dental implants may seem like a significant investment, but when you weigh their cost against the health and social costs of losing your natural teeth, implants reveal themselves as a truly cost-effective and durable solution,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist practicing in central Phoenix.

 

 

 

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