If you have a severely decayed tooth, your dentist may have no other option than to extract it. Even though the extraction will eliminate the dental infection and any discomfort associated with the tooth, it will also leave a space in your mouth. The space left by the missing tooth will affect the look of your smile if the tooth was in the front of your mouth.
However, regardless of the position of the resulting gap, the loss of the tooth can still negatively impact your teeth if the tooth is not replaced in a timely manner. Here are a few reasons why and how a dental implant can help maintain dental health:
If a tooth is not replaced in a timely manner after it is extracted, it may leave enough room in your mouth for other teeth to shift out of place. This shifting can leave your teeth misaligned. The misalignment can be corrected by braces or other orthodontic appliances, but if the gap remains in the mouth, the misalignment is likely to recur.
If a dental implant is installed before the alignment becomes a problem, the implant can prevent the shifting by serving as a placeholder for the teeth that are next to the gap.
Preservation of Jawbone Density
The jawbone can atrophy if it does not receive enough stimulation. New bone cells are developed as bite pressure is transferred to the jawbone during episodes of chewing or biting. However, when a tooth is lost, no bite pressure is received at the extraction site. Therefore, the jaw bone in that area can begin to decline.
However, since a dental implant is surgically implanted into the jawbone of the dental patient, it can still transfer bite force to the bone for stimulation. Other types of tooth replacement mechanisms, such as dental bridges, rest at the gum line and do not connect with the jawbone.
The preservation of the jawbone is especially important if the patient wants to keep all of his or her teeth. As bone density declines, it becomes more likely for teeth to become loose in their socket. This loosening can cause teeth to eventually fall out.
Preservation of Natural Teeth
If you do decide to have the tooth replaced, it is best to understand that not all replacement options have the same impact on the teeth. A dental implant does not require the altering of natural teeth. However, a dental bridge requires that the teeth over which the bridge crowns will be placed be shaved down. This allows the crowns to fit more evenly in the mouth. However, if you are concerned about your natural teeth being damaged or weakened by a procedure, a dental bridge may not be as good of an option as a dental implant would be in your case.
If you are interested in replacing an extracted tooth, consult with a dentist (such as one from Dentures By Denturists) in your area.