It is common for people to lose teeth as they go through life. This can be caused by extensive decay, severe damage, root canal procedures that failed or advanced gum disease. If you have gaps in your teeth, they are not only unsightly but may also lead to more complex dental issues as time goes on.
Problems Due to Lost Teeth
When you lose a tooth, and it leaves a gap, the teeth surrounding it can move into the space. This causes a misaligned bite and further instability because the opposing teeth will move in search of a new mate. The gum tissue in the gap can become persistently irritated, and the jawbone will eventually shrink away due to a lack of stimulation through chewing. Lost jawbone is almost impossible to get back, even with advanced bone-graft techniques.
In the past, lost teeth were replaced with a fixed bridge. The disadvantage of this was a continued loss of jawbone despite the gap being filled. Modern dentistry now uses dental implants to repair gaps and preserve bone. An implant is a crown or a bridge that is not reliant on surrounding teeth for support. It is screwed or cemented into place and acts like a natural tooth by transmitting chewing force into the jawbone and preserving its volume. This is better for the overall health and structure of your mouth.
Signs You Need an Implant
The main sign you need a tooth removed is pain, especially if it hurts when you are not eating or drinking. You may also have swelling in your gums that indicates a problem tooth. This can be caused by a failed root canal or gum disease. If you have shattered a tooth, you will likely need an implant. The good news is you may be able to have the problem tooth extracted and get an implant on the same day.
Regardless of how you lost a tooth, it is in your best interest to replace it as soon as you can. This will help you to avoid bite problems and bone loss and preserve your beautiful smile.