Dental implants may not be your first option, especially if the lost tooth is a back molar that isn’t visible when you smile. However, aside from affecting the clarity of your speech, making it harder to chew, and reducing your confidence, missing teeth can also negatively impact your oral health and your facial structure.
Below, we asked Dr. Kenn Kakosian, our expert, to explain why implants are your best option for replacing a missing tooth and what risks you’re exposing yourself to if you choose not to replace the tooth with an implant.
How tooth loss impacts your oral health and your facial structure
The most known effects of missing teeth are loss of function and cosmetic issues, but there are more serious consequences of losing teeth: jawbone loss and changes in facial structure.
Teeth are anchored in the jaw by their roots. If the root and the teeth are gone, the jawbone no longer has the structural support and the continuous stimulation of the root. Over time, the jawbone becomes weaker and less dense in the empty section where the root once was.
Changes in the jaw are visible in the shape of the face. For example, if you lose teeth, you may also lose height in your jaw. This may shorten the length of your face, which can make your nose appear larger and your cheeks sunken.
Another consequence of losing teeth is the appearance of facial wrinkles around the nose and mouth, as loss of volume in the face can also cause lines.
Lastly, teeth can shift, filling in the gap where the tooth used to be. This can cause misalignments and lead to a crooked smile.
How dental implants prevent complications associated with tooth loss
Unlike bridges, dentures, or other restorative solutions, implants replace both the tooth and its root. The implant is surgically inserted into the jaw. As a result, the implants stimulate your jaw when you chew and prevent jawbone loss and changes to your facial structure.
Because the root fuses with the jawbone, implants are stable and have a high success rate. The average implant lasts anywhere between 20 and 30 years.
Find out if you’re a good candidate for dental implants
If you’ve recently lost a tooth or expect to lose one due to decay, contact us to schedule an appointment and find out if an implant is the right solution for you. Good candidates have healthy gums and don’t suffer from systemic diseases such as diabetes and osteoporosis.