Millions of Americans face tooth loss every year. Though some teeth fall out as the result of accident, injury, or disease, many are also manually removed through tooth extraction. Teeth extractions are a common method of treating teeth that are impacted, infected, or damaged by decay. But leaving lingering gaps from missing teeth is not ideal from a functional or aesthetic perspective. Receiving dental implants after teeth extractions can enhance the health of your smile and prevent future problems.
Common Causes of Teeth Extractions
Not all teeth are able to be salvaged. Sometimes, despite the doctor’s best efforts, a tooth needs to be removed to preserve other teeth and overall oral health. Tooth extraction may be recommended when there is:
- Severe tooth decay that has reached the pulp of the tooth.
- Gingivitis or periodontal disease that has weakened the gums’ hold on teeth.
- Impaction where the tooth has not fully broken through the gums.
- Trauma that leaves teeth damaged to the point where they cannot be effectively repaired by other means.
What Happens if Missing Teeth are Not Replaced?
Missing a tooth or two may not seem like that big of a deal initially. As the site heals, you may get used to the tooth not being there. But leaving this gap can contribute to a variety of other dental issues that can become more costly to address. Getting dental implants after teeth extraction can be a beneficial way to restore your smile and promote better dental health.
Here are just a few of the issues that can arise from missing teeth:
- Poor aesthetics: Having a gap in your smile can leave you feeling self-conscious about the way you look. It may keep you from showing your teeth when you smile or wanting to be part of pictures.
- Impaired speech: Your teeth play an important role in your ability to form different letter sounds. If teeth are missing, it can change how you speak and pronounce various words.
- Bite/chew issues: Missing front teeth can affect your ability to bite into foods such as sandwiches, pizza, or apples. Missing molars can inhibit your ability to chew tough or crunchy foods or cause you to only chew on one side and put uneven wear on your teeth.
- Teeth shifting: All of your teeth fit snugly together to form an arch. When there are gaps, surrounding teeth may shift out of place. This can create a crooked smile and also affect the alignment of your top and bottom teeth. You may experience jaw pain because of the strain of a change in your bite. This may contribute to TMJ disorders.
- Bone loss: Your teeth have roots that are held fast to your jaw bone. When a tooth is extracted, the root is removed as well. Without this stimulation, the bone may begin to deteriorate or resorb.
Benefits of Choosing Dental Implants
There are several different options for replacing missing teeth following an extraction, such as dental flippers, bridges, or retainers, but dental implants can offer a long-lasting, natural-looking solution.
Dental implants are small titanium screws that are inserted directly into the jaw bone. Within a few weeks, these implants fuse together with the bone through a process called osseointegration, creating a strong bond and foundation for replacement teeth. A connector called an abutment is attached to the top of the implant, and this holds the new crown in place.
There are many advantages in choosing implants:
- They are long-lasting. A dental implant may last the rest of your lifetime, and you would only need to replace the crown on occasion.
- They function (and look) like natural teeth: Because implants are firmly rooted to the jawbone, they are incredibly durable. They provide a solid foundation for replacement teeth that blend seamlessly with existing teeth.
- They do not need to be removed. Once a dental implant is placed, you treat it just like the rest of your teeth with regular brushing and flossing. You do not have to worry about taking it out at night or having it slip out of place.
- They prevent bone loss. The titanium post acts like the root of the tooth and provides stimulation to the bone as you chew. This can keep the bone from deteriorating.
Restore Your Smile After Teeth Extraction
Dental implants can be a long-term, cost-effective solution for replacing missing teeth following an extraction, and leave you with a beautiful and fully functional smile. Contact Coastal Virginia Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery to learn more.