Some patients may be reluctant to replace a missing tooth, especially if it is located in an area that has minimal impact on the smile’s appearance. Nonetheless, there are a number of compelling reasons to pursue tooth replacement treatment.
Although it may seem that one missing tooth is an isolated concern, tooth loss can actually have ramifications for the biological teeth that remain.
One potential issue following tooth loss is accompanying bone loss. When a tooth’s root is no longer available to stimulate the jawbone, the bone will atrophy. This can compromise the quality of the bone in the vicinity, which can jeopardize the connection between the surrounding teeth and the jaw.
Additionally, the remaining teeth (both above, below, and alongside) will shift to fill in an empty space left behind by a lost tooth, creating a problem with misalignment. If you fail to replace a missing tooth, you may need to undergo orthodontic treatment if you end up with a crooked smile as a result.
Even your oral hygiene can be compromised if you fail to replace a missing tooth. Debris and bacteria can collect in the empty space and around mal-positioned shifted surrounding teeth, and it can be difficult to properly clean them.
When considering tooth replacement treatment, it is important to recognize that you have different options for appliances. For a small number of teeth, you may choose a dental bridge, partial denture or dental implants. Patients who are missing an entire arch of teeth and those who are edentulous may opt for conventional dentures or for implant-supported dentures.
Dental implants represent the most advanced and longest lasting tooth replacement technology available to patients. They offer a structurally complete prosthetic that includes both an artificial root, which is made of titanium that is capable of fusing with bone, and a crown made of lifelike materials that mimic the appearance of enamel. Bridges and dentures, in comparison, offer no replacement for the missing root structure and involve cutting down neighboring teeth, which are used as support teeth.
Patients who choose dental implants gain a number of advantages, including stability in the jawbone and limited effects on surrounding teeth. It is also easier to maintain your oral hygiene with dental implants, and the devices are more functional.
Contact our office to explore bone grafting ridge preservation and dental implants to see whether this treatment is suitable for your case. Please click on the videos below, both in English and Spanish, that demonstrate in detail the consequences of not replacing a missing tooth and what your best options are to prevent future tooth and bone loss.