There are many reasons why you might lose a tooth during your lifetime. Even people who are vigilant about their oral health can lose teeth in accidents or other unexpected circumstances.
That doesn’t mean they have to live with a compromised smile. In many cases, an oral surgeon can provide such individuals with dental implants. These false teeth mirror the appearance and function of the real thing. With proper care, dental implants can permanently replace missing teeth.
That said, the process of getting a dental implant is somewhat involved. The oral surgeon needs to assess your health, install the implant, and provide you with a customized crown that matches the look of your remaining teeth.
This typically involves several appointments over the course of months. Thus, some patients are reluctant to move forward with the process until a later date, when they feel it may be more convenient for them to begin preparing for dental implants.
This is a mistake. Waiting to replace a missing tooth may have consequences. They include the following:
No Longer Being a Candidate
Again, the oral surgeon must first determine whether you’re a good candidate for dental implants before deciding this treatment is right for you. That’s because the implant is anchored in place by the jawbone. Patients need sufficient jawbone strength to support the implant.
When you first lose a tooth, your jawbone may be strong enough. However, when the body goes a long time with missing teeth, the jawbone doesn’t receive stimulation from the tooth root. The body essentially realizes there is no tooth for the jawbone to support in that particular spot anymore. As a result, the jawbone weakens. Wait too long to start the process of receiving a dental implant, and your jawbone may no longer be strong enough to support one.
There are solutions to this problem. Oral surgeons can sometimes graft bone from another part of the body onto the jawbone. That said, bone grafting adds yet another step to an already lengthy process. Avoid it by moving forward with treatment sooner rather than later.
Experiencing Changes in Your Appearance
The bone deterioration that can occur when a person is missing a tooth may have an impact on his or her appearance. Specifically, your skin will start to sink down towards the area where you’re missing a tooth or teeth. This can be difficult to correct, even after receiving an implant.
The longer you wait to replace your teeth, the greater the odds you’ll struggle with this issue. Getting an implant early can offer your facial tissues the support they need to maintain your current appearance.
Developing Other Dental Issues
Each one of your teeth plays an essential role in your oral health. Think of your teeth as a structure, with each individual tooth representing a brick in that structure. Remove one brick, and the overall structural stability is compromised.
This means your teeth will begin to shift position if you wait too long to fill in a gap from a missing tooth. Thus, you’ll develop yet another dental issue to correct. Significant shifts can result in bite issues that will need to be treated to prevent complications. In other words, you may need to get braces along with an implant. This will add even more time and cost to your treatment.
This problem can also have a negative impact on your appearance. In some cases, teeth that have shifted position as a result of a gap also become more difficult to clean. That means keeping your teeth healthy throughout your life will become much more challenging.
You’ll save yourself a lot of time and money in the long run if you start getting a dental implant as soon as your oral surgeon recommends doing so.
Shifting teeth can harm both your appearance and your dental health. Shifting teeth can also potentially cause discomfort. There are instances in which patients develop temporomandibular joint pain (TMD) due to a tooth or several teeth shifting position.
This is another condition an oral surgeon can often treat. However, once again, you’ll have to spend more time and money correcting it. Additionally, you may experience chronic discomfort in the meantime. Getting a dental implant as soon as possible may help you avoid this pain.
It’s easy to understand why some people wait to begin the process of dental implant treatment. Although some are anxious about the treatment, in many cases, people are simply busy. They believe they’re better off waiting until a more convenient time to receive their implant.
Again, this is understandable, but it’s not the best route. Complications can develop if you wait too long to replace a missing tooth. By heeding the advice of a qualified oral surgeon, you’re much more likely to avoid them.