A common misconception is that a missing tooth is solely a cosmetic problem, that it’s nothing more than a gap in your smile.
In truth, a missing tooth can cause severe problems to your remaining teeth, your jaw and your bite. When you lose a tooth, the bone which holds the tooth in place starts to atrophy and shrink. This bone does not grow back, and it will continue to atrophy: eventually affecting the health and stability of your remaining teeth. In some cases, this can cause further tooth loss.
If you don’t replace a missing tooth, the teeth on either side of the gap can shift in an attempt to cover the gap. The problem with this is: your teeth become crooked and can create a misaligned bite.
Why you should replace a missing tooth as soon as possible.
By replacing a missing tooth with dental implant treatment, you are replacing both the tooth root and the crown of the tooth. The dental implant, a biocompatible titanium screw, is surgically inserted into your jaw at the site of the missing tooth root. After a healing period, during which time your jawbone will fuse with the dental implant, the dental prosthetic will be attached. This will be a dental crown, bridge or denture depending on how many teeth you need replaced.
If you are in good health, and don’t require jawbone surgery, dental implant treatment can take between 3 and 4 months. The process for the jawbone to fuse with the dental implant is what causes the lengthy treatment time. This process is known as osseointegration and is vital to the success of the treatment.
By replacing a tooth as soon as possible you reduce the risk of further oral health problems developing.