The loss of a single tooth might seem relatively inconsequential, but in actuality, it can create long-term havoc with the health of your remaining teeth. If you’ve lost one or more teeth, you can prevent these issues by having them replaced with dental implants.
What Happens When You Lose a Tooth?
Losing a tooth creates space in your mouth. Other teeth will automatically shift to fill that space. As they do, the alignment between your upper and lower jaw changes. Teeth that used to mesh perfectly when you closed your mouth now don’t quite slide into the right position. Molars that used to meet for effective chewing now don’t quite do the job. Tooth surfaces that don’t move against each other effectively can suffer extreme wear and tear over time, eventually leading to damage or even loss of the tooth.
As the teeth shift, the jawbone can also move slightly. Over time, the muscles of the jaw can become tight and tense, pulling the jawbone out of position or constantly fighting to pull it back into the correct place. This tension can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. The tension could cause you to start grinding and clenching your teeth, again creating abnormal, premature wear and potentially permanently damaging your tooth.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Dental implants consist of two parts—a metal tooth root that is placed directly in the jawbone and a prosthetic crown made of tooth-colored materials, usually porcelain. The artificial crown fills the space in the mouth, preventing other teeth from moving to take over the empty area. The tooth root is made of titanium or an alloy of titanium with another metal. Bone naturally bonds to titanium, which means the implant will be held stationary in your mouth. It will also stimulate the bone to continue to grow, preventing eventual bone resorption.
Although a partial denture or a bridge can be used to replace one or two teeth, they don’t help stimulate the jawbone. Replacing missing teeth with dental implants is the best way to ensure the long-term health of your teeth and jaw after tooth loss.
To discuss your options, contact our office at Newton Dental Group today.