If you have lost a tooth to decay or injury, you are undoubtedly concerned about filling in the empty space to restore your smile’s appearance. You should be just as worried about the effects that tooth loss has on your dental health and how the tooth replacement device that you choose can mitigate those effects.
Here are four primary effects that missing teeth have on your dental health. You should weigh these factors as you decide how to replace those teeth with dental implants, dental bridges or dentures.
- Jawbone atrophy: After you lose a tooth, your jawbone will slowly erode at the site. If there are remaining biological teeth in the mouth, this phenomenon can compromise the attachment of those teeth that adjoin the empty space. In cases of edentulous patients, jawbone resorption can reduce the fit of a denture over time. When an oral surgeon places dental implants to restore the smile after tooth loss, however, it helps to prevent this jawbone atrophy.
- Shifting teeth: Patients who choose not to replace a missing tooth take the risk of having the remaining teeth move out of position in order to fill in the empty space. The teeth may be damaged as a result of that process, especially if they move in ways that cause them to overlap with each other or exert unnatural forces on each other. A prosthetic crown or bridge can act as a placeholder so that the teeth will not shift.
- Oral hygiene: The type of tooth replacement you choose may affect your oral hygiene routine. For example, a dental bridge may limit your access to your gum line and your ability to floss completely in the area. Dental implants placed by an oral surgeon usually have minimal effect on your oral hygiene routine, as they are structurally quite similar to biological teeth.
- Nutrition: You must eat a healthy, nutritious diet in order to maintain a healthy smile, and tooth loss can compromise your ability to chew properly. Dental implants preserve much of the chewing function of biological teeth because the bond between bone and implant helps the device to withstand stronger chewing forces.
We strongly encourage patients who have experienced tooth loss to consider dental implants as a tooth replacement solution. Call our team at Central Oklahoma Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates to schedule a consultation to learn more about this treatment and the benefits that it may have for you.