Teeth can be dislodged during an accident, rough play, a sports injury, or a physical altercation. You might also lose teeth due to decay. Replacing a missing tooth will help you speak and chew normally, and keep your gums and other teeth healthy. If you don’t replace the tooth, your other teeth may shift and you can experience bone loss at the site of the missing tooth.
A dental implant replaces your missing tooth root. It consists of a metal post anchored into the gum and bone that holds a false tooth. In some cases, the dentists place several implants to support a row of teeth or denture.
It’s the most natural-looking and durable option for replacing a lost tooth. Implants don’t slip like dentures, maintain your facial structure, and acts just like a natural tooth.
Generally, the dentist places an implant several weeks after the removal of a non-restorable tooth. At the time of a removal, the dentist may place a bone graft – a transplanted bone tissue to grow with your own bone. This graft strengthens your bone, rendering it a better foundation for the eventual placement of an implant.
After sufficient healing time, the doctor then places the implant itself, best described as a titanium "screw". This screw eventually heals into the bone, allowing it to hold the final restoration of a crown, partial, or denture.
Implant restorations have become a crucial component of successful tooth replacements. They are a safe, permanent alternative for patients who have lost teeth.
Implants are the most natural and long-lasting option if you’ve lost a tooth, but if you choose not to have one, you do have other options.
If you choose a bridge-supported crown, two teeth surrounding the missing tooth space are prepped and hold a bridge to support the false tooth or crown. This option requires grinding down the existing teeth to make space for the bridge and doesn’t stimulate the jawbone, so you might experience bone deterioration, which changes the look and shape of your face.
Dentures are another option to consider. But, dentures can affect the way you eat and speak. Plus, they may slip and feel uncomfortable against your palate. They too can lead to facial changes over time.