When most people lose a tooth, they start thinking about how it will affect their appearance. Unfortunately, most people imagine gap-toothed photos instead of life-altering bone loss. Believe it or not, if your teeth go missing and they aren’t replaced the right way, you might be left suffering with more negative consequences than you think.
Tooth Loss Can Affect More Than Your Teeth
In addition to helping you to chew your food, your teeth also help to stimulate your jawbone and keep your mouth healthy. Unfortunately, missing teeth can cause these problems:
How Dental Implants Can Help
- Missing Jaw Tissue: Your teeth are held in place by strong ligaments that are rooted in your jawbone. As you talk and chew, the impact stimulates these ligaments, which keeps your jawbone strong. Unfortunately, after a tooth is lost, your jaw won’t receive this stimulation, and the bone will actually start to shrink away. In fact, most people lose about 25% of jawbone width within the first year of missing a tooth.
- Altered Face Shape: Once your jawbone has started to melt away, it can start to affect the shape of your entire face. Over time, a smaller jawbone might make the lower part of your face look caved in, like someone who is elderly.
Fortunately, you don’t have to let a missing tooth destroy your physical appearance. Because dental implants are anchored directly to your jaw with a strong abutment, they stimulate your bone tissue just like your natural teeth.
However, keep in mind that dental implants need to be placed soon after you lose your teeth to avoid problems. If your jawbone has melted away, your dentist might have to place bone grafts near the area of the missing tooth to properly anchor your implant. Without this graft, your implant might not be as strong as surrounding teeth.
To avoid problems, meet with your dentist as soon as one of your teeth falls out. In addition to patching up your smile with a temporary bridge or false tooth, your dentist can start making plans for how your implant should be placed.
The Cosmetic Benefits of Dental Implants
Are you worried that your dental implant will stick out like a sore thumb? Believe it or not, dental implants look even more natural than porcelain veneers, since the surface is level with the rest of your natural teeth. Dental implants can even be dyed to match surrounding teeth, so that you won’t have to worry about color inconsistencies.