Losing an adult tooth is always a difficult issue. A tooth can be lost due to an injury, decay, gum disease or conditions that compromise the structure of the tooth’s roots or the foundation (jaw, tendons, tissues) that supports them.
Statistics show that when a natural tooth is lost, the next to be lost is one next to it. Therefore, it is very important to replace it as soon as possible, ideally at the time of removal.
When a tooth is removed, the open space it leaves allows for movement of neighboring teeth. For example, let’s say you lose a lower tooth on one side. The tooth above, that once met the now-missing lower tooth, will grow longer. The teeth on each side of the now-open space will begin tilt.
When other teeth do not have their ‘mate’ to help hold them in their proper positions, they shift. This shifting and elongated growth make other teeth susceptible to chips, breaks and fractures. It can also impact the movement of the TMJ (jaw joints).
Your TMJ is a hinge of sorts that connects your lower jaw to the skull. Every time you bite, chew, speak, laugh or yawn, these joints move. When teeth are in their proper positions, the joints move harmoniously. However, bite misalignment can create strain on these joints, leading to a long list of problems.
The jaw joints, located just in front of each ear, are connected and integral with so many structural components. For instance, TMJ disorders can cause ear ringing, dizziness, headaches, migraines, and lead to night-time clenching and grinding.
Grinding teeth can lead to teeth that are worn down or broken. As a matter of fact, bruxism (teeth grinding) is one of the leading contributors to dental implant failure. The force of some clenching has been compared to that as hard enough to crack a walnut!
Another advantage of replacing teeth immediately upon removal is to preserve the gum tissues in their natural arches and points. If you look at the gums that
frame your natural teeth, there are arches over each tooth with slight dips of gum tissue between them. When a natural tooth is removed, these curvatures begin to dry up and flatten out.
Although gum re-contouring procedures can be preformed to restore these arches and points, immediate replacement can help you avoid this added expense and treatment time.
Ideally, a natural tooth is replaced with a dental implant. Because the implanted portion is placed in the bone, it recreates the presence of a natural tooth root. This helps preserve the jaw bone and provides a dependable anchor to support a replacement tooth.
Additionally, a dental implant does not need the support of neighboring teeth, as in a crown-&-bridge. When natural teeth must be crowned for the sole purpose of supporting a replacement tooth in-between, they will always require a crown.
Dental implants are also designed for a lifetime. They are the closest thing to natural teeth in the way they look, feel and function. With proper care, they will never need replacing or other maintenance and your surrounding teeth will not be affected by their presence.
As a comprehensive dental practice, we are proud to provide complete dental services and all phases of every tooth replacement option. If you’re facing tooth replacement, we’ll explain your options and answer your questions so you can determine which is best for you, personally.
Ideally, however, we want you to keep your natural teeth for a lifetime of confident smiles! If you wish to learn more about how to achieve and maintain a terrific smile you’ll love to share, call 910-254-4555 to schedule a no-charge consultation.