Having one missing tooth can be annoying. If it is anywhere near the front of your mouth it can cause you to feel self-conscious in your interactions with others. When you have a missing tooth in the back of your mouth it may not be noticeable when you talk but it will be any time you eat. While these things are frustrating to deal with they are not necessarily life changing. Is one missing tooth really that big of a deal? Is it worth the trouble and potential expense to get a dental implant for just one missing tooth? The reality is that dental implants do much more than simply fill a space that once contained one of your natural teeth. They add stability to the structure of your jaw and can prevent the shifting of your other teeth. These factors give dental implants the ability to protect you from more serious issues in the future.
Dental implants add stability to the structure of your jaw.
Your natural teeth have roots in them that are an important part of your mouth and jaw. These roots help with the stability of your teeth and help preserve your jaw bone. When you lose a tooth you also lose the roots and the functions they perform. One missing tooth can have a negative impact on the structure of your jaw over time. The bone can start to waste away without the added support of those roots. A dental implant can replace the roots and the functions they performed. The post of the implant will go directly into the bone of your jaw. Over time, the bone and the post will fuse together and build up the strength and stability of your jaw.
A dental implant will prevent the shifting of your other teeth.
One missing tooth can impact all of the other teeth inside of your mouth. You may have noticed your teeth shifting over time. They may not be as perfectly straight as they were the first day your braces were removed. This gradual shifting is a fact of life for many people but it doesn’t typically cause too many problems. But, if you have a missing tooth the shifting can become accelerated and lead to more serious issues. A big empty spot between your teeth can leave them vulnerable to quicker and more significant shifting. This is a problem because it may lead to your bite getting out of whack. This can cause you to grind your teeth at night and potentially experience pain when you eat. Ignoring a missing tooth can cause a lot more trouble down than road than the trouble of dealing with it now by getting a dental implant.
One missing tooth does not seem like much of a problem until you start to consider the potential issues it can lead to over time. If you have been simply living with it because it didn’t seem like a big deal-you now know that it can lead to significant issues. If you work with a dentist who has training and experience placing dental implants you can end up with a great looking implant that functions just like your natural teeth.
Julie C Berger, DDS, MA, FACP is a local Gettysburg dentist and a board certified prosthodontist specialist. She is a former full time instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.