A missing tooth may not seem to be a major issue. However, the gap left by the missing tooth increases your risk of various dental problems. Whether you lose a tooth due to accident or poor dental care, you should consider getting dental implants soon to prevent additional damage to your teeth and gums.
1. Chew and Eat Normally
One missing tooth can impact the way you chew, eat, and talk. Over time, the changes to the way your upper and lower jaws connect may lead to temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMJ). This condition is often the result of additional stress and pressure on one side of your mouth. Replacing the missing tooth helps prevent TMJ and allows you to continue chewing and eating normally.
2. Prevent Bone Loss
The jaw bone is exposed by missing teeth and may deteriorate. Your teeth shield the jaw bone and provide stimulation that helps maintain the health of the bone. When this stimulation is removed, your jaw is susceptible to bone loss. In fact, within one year, you may lose up to 25% of the bone volume in the area near the missing tooth.
Implants replace the empty space left by a missing tooth and prevent further bone loss. The implant behaves the same as a natural tooth, offering the same stimulation and protection for the jaw bone.
3. Stabilize Your Remaining Teeth
The gap left by a missing tooth provides space for adjacent teeth to shift. Without treatment, the shifting of teeth can lead to changes to your bite, the way you chew, and your physical appearance.
Your teeth work together to remain in place and prevent shifting. Replacing the gap with an implant ensures that your teeth remain stabilized and properly positioned.
4. Protect the Rest of Your Teeth
Along with stabilizing your teeth, an implant protects adjacent teeth from requiring crowns. When you get a dental bridge, crowns are added to the adjacent teeth to hold the bridge. The teeth are scraped to prepare them for the crowns. This removal of enamel increases the risk of tooth decay and is prevented when you choose an implant over a bridge.
5. Protect Against Gum Disease
Another potential health risk of a missing tooth is gum disease. The open space is the perfect spot for food and debris to get trapped. It is often difficult to remove this debris even with proper brushing and flossing. The particles stuck in the gap or in the exposed area of the gums increase the risk or spread of gum disease.
6. Prevent Facial Sagging
A reduction in jaw bone can cause the lower portion of your face to sag inward. The area around the mouth may become excessively wrinkled and result in premature aging. By protecting your jaws from additional bone loss, you can prevent the risk of facial sagging.
7. Maintain Your Smile
Missing teeth directly impact your Build Your Smile. With a missing tooth, you may have less confidence and hide your teeth when smiling. Implants help restore your smile. Replacing one or more missing teeth allows you to chew, eat, laugh, talk, and smile without any discomfort or embarrassment.
A missing tooth does not need to significantly impact your dental health. If you have a missing tooth, do not hesitate to schedule a dental exam. Your dentist can help you explore options, including the use of an implant to protect your mouth from further damage.