What are the Consequences of Losing Just one Tooth?

Throughout the course of a lifetime, teeth may be lost for many reasons including decay, gum disease and accidents. While losing just one tooth may seem unimportant, single tooth loss can actually start a chain reaction in the mouth. The loss of a single tooth can compromise your eating habits, speech and appearance. When a tooth in the back of the mouth is lost, it can lead to numerous problems such as affecting your ability to chew food well and to properly clean your teeth. Losing a tooth also can compromise the health of your remaining teeth and can lead to many other detrimental effects. This is why it’s a good idea to consider replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant.

The Unseen Effects of Tooth Loss

How your teeth fit together affects your ability to chew and bite efficiently. It also affects the manner in which your upper and lower jawbone aligns with one other. When the jaws are misaligned, the results in the long run can not only be uncomfortable but it can also be detrimental to your overall health.

While it may seem that losing just one tooth won’t have any serious affect on the rest of your mouth, the truth is that single tooth loss can lead to many different problems down the road. These problems may include:

  • Malocclusion or a misaligned bite
  • Uneven, premature wear and tear on the remaining teeth
  • Tempormandibular joint disorder due to tooth misalignment
  • The eventual loss of more teeth

When you’ve lost a single tooth, it’s highly advisable that you replace that tooth. By replacing the missing tooth, your other teeth will remain properly aligned which will prevent many of the above problems from happening. By far, the best option for replacing a missing tooth is a dental implant.

What a Dental Implant is and How it Works

Dental bridges and dentures are viable options for replacing missing teeth. However, a better option that provides long-term benefits and results are dental implants. A dental implant is a permanent, artificial tooth replacement that’s anchored securely into the jawbone. A dental implant is made up of both the visible top portion of the tooth as well as the root that’s anchored in the jawbone. Because an implant includes a root, it helps to stimulate growth in the jawbone.

When dentures are worn for many years, a patient can experience reduced volume of the bone tissue in the jaw. When the jawbone reduces gradually over time, it can result in changes to the shape of the face as the lower jaw can shift closer to the upper jaw. This reduction of the jawbone can cause the face to have a “sunken” look that can make the person look older than he or she actually is. But when a dental implant is used, this reduction of the jawbone will not occur. Instead, the patient is provided with a natural-looking, permanent and durable replacement for the missing tooth.

If you are interested in dental implants and would like some more information, please do not hesitate to contact us as we’re always happy to speak with you!

Tips for a Trouble-Free & Smooth Dental Implant Recovery

Once you’ve undergone the procedure of having dental implants placed, it’s essential that you follow the post-surgery instructions your oral surgeon provides you with. This way, you’ll be helping to ensure that your recovery is smooth and trouble-free and that your implants themselves will be successful.

Before for the Procedure

Even before you have the implants placed, you can take some steps to help ensure that you have a successful recovery from the dental implant surgery. Among the things you can do include:

  • If you smoke, giving up the habit two weeks prior to your oral surgery will prove beneficial. This is because non-smokers heal more rapidly than smokers.
  • Seek treatment for any inflammation or gum disease you may have.
  • Speak to your oral surgeon about the procedure so you know what to expect.
  • Plan on having someone drive you to and from our office and to lend a helping hand for a few days following your surgery.

By taking these steps, you will be helping to ensure that you heal as you should and in a timely manner. If you are going to have bone grafts done before your implants are placed, similar measures can help ensure that you recover well from the graft procedures.

Caring for Yourself While You Heal

Following the dental implant procedure, you’ll be provided with instructions that inform you how you should care for yourself while your mouth and gums are healing. You’ll be given instructions about how you can keep your mouth clean. You also may be given a prescription for medication that helps prevent infection or which keeps pain at a minimum. You may also be told to take a few days off from work so that you can rest while you’re healing. It’s important that you follow these post-surgery instructions so you don’t run into any problems.

It’s possible that you may have a few stitches in your gums. If this is the case, the stitches will affect how you care for yourself. You may be given a special mouthwash to use that helps keep your teeth and gums clean. It’s crucial that you keep all your post-surgery appointments as these are important for the evaluation of your healing and for the success of your implants.

Don’t hesitate to contact us at the Center for Oral Surgery of Las Vegas if you have questions about how to care for yourself following the placement of your dental implants.

Should Dental Implants be Placed Prior To or After Orthodontic Treatment?

Dental implants are designed to replace permanent teeth, which have been lost. It’s common for orthodontic treatment to be necessary due to a malocclusion created from the lack of sufficient jaw space. When this is the case, one or more permanent teeth must be extracted in order to make room for the shifting of teeth in order to obtain a correct bite.

Orthodontic treatment should be completed before a patient considers dental implants. This is because once the teeth have shifted into their correct positions after braces are removed, the spaces created by the correction of the bite can then be filled with dental implants along with the necessary restorations required to permanently cover them.

A Dental Implant Feels, Looks and Acts like a Natural Tooth

A dental implant is embedded into gum tissue. Most dental implants are made of titanium because this material easily fuses to existing bone tissue. When an implant has been placed and has been given time to completely adhere to bone tissue, it will act much like the root of a natural tooth as it will provide strength and stability to the final restoration.

When a patient is healing from a dental implant, it’s crucial that the implant remains stationary so that proper fusion can occur. The area also needs to be kept clean to prevent infection, which is a cause of implant failure.

This type of dental implant is often confused with implants used by orthodontists called mini implants. A mini implant is not designed to fuse to bone as orthodontists use mini implants to precisely control tooth movements during some orthodontic treatments.

A Dental Implant Integrates into the Patient’s Smile

Osseointegration is the term used to describe the process of bone fusing with the implant. When an implant is finished healing, it becomes a part of the patient’s dental anatomy. The oral surgeon will design the final restoration so that it matches the shape, size and color of the patient’s natural teeth to complete the last step on the road to a new smile.

If a patient has dental implants placed following orthodontic treatment, it’s important that the retainer be worn so that teeth will not drift back into their original positions. Shifting teeth are one reason why dental implants do not succeed.

It’s easy to take care of your smile after having dental implants placed. Just as you’d care for your natural teeth, regular and thorough brushing and flossing is necessary as are regular visits to your dentist for cleanings and checkups.