While your teeth are designed to last your whole life, things happen. Maybe your gums got infected and a tooth fell out. Or maybe you knocked a tooth out from a sports injury or biking accident. And for some people, not every baby tooth is replaced by an adult one. Sometimes, the adult tooth is never there for some reason, so there’s nothing to come in and fill the space. But no matter how it happened, missing a tooth means you should probably get a dental implant surgically placed in that space.
For some people, the idea of having a dental implant procedure is scary. You know what? That makes sense. Any kind of surgery can make you nervous. But the oral surgery required for a dental implant has been around for so long, it’s very routine. In fact, if you are missing a tooth, the really scary thing is to not get an implant.
The Scary Problems Of Missing Teeth
There are a number of problems that can creep up on you if you’re missing a tooth and do nothing:
- Problems eating: Your teeth are used to rip, tear, crush, and chew your food so you can swallow it. When you are missing a tooth, your mouth cannot work like it’s supposed to. That means you might have to skip foods you love. For example, corn on the cob is really hard to eat without your front teeth. And foods that you have to crush, like peanuts or carrots, can get painful if you try to eat them with a missing molar. Not only can this mean you miss out on comfort foods, but you might lose nutrition as well.
- Less confidence: Let’s face it. In this day and age, no one expects to see a dark hole in your smile. If you smile at someone while missing a tooth they normally could see, you can see how their eyes gravitate toward it. This can make even the most self-assured person feel less confident. Who can be confident knowing people are going to be staring at that gap in your smile?
- Weird-looking smile: And even if you are the most self-confident person and don’t care what other people think, the sad fact is they will likely treat you differently. They’ll start to make assumptions about why you let that tooth fall out. Did you get into a fight, meaning you’re a violent person who should be kept at arm’s length? Or did it fall out because you never brush and have a nasty mouth? It doesn’t matter what the truth is, because others will fill in the blanks in their head and act accordingly.
- Higher health risks: When you have a gap left behind by a missing tooth, food particles can collect along the gumline there. Bacteria love these particles, and they can thrive in that space. These bacteria are what contribute to tooth decay, putting the teeth on either side of the space at a much higher risk of cavities. Worse, the bacteria could irritate the gums and lead to gingivitis. Not only does this often lead to horrible breath, but it also could infect the gums and give you gum disease that puts more of your teeth at risk for falling out.
- Speech problems: We use our voice and tongue to speak, but many sounds require help from the teeth. Try saying the word “the” without using your teeth. Missing one of the teeth near the back of the mouth probably won’t do too much, but missing one or more in the front can really make your words harder to understand. Also, missing a tooth can sometimes create a whistling noise as air rushes through the gap. How scary would it be to sound like some old-timey grandpa?
- Loss of bone tissue: All of your teeth have roots that go down into the jawbone. Along with chewing action from your teeth, this is what helps keep your teeth from falling out. That means your jawbone is supposed to have roots in there. When you lose a tooth, the root normally comes with it. (And if the root somehow stays behind, it will need to be removed.) Over time, the bone tissue around the socket where the root is normally found will deteriorate and weaken.
Routine, Successful Implant Surgeries
At our Port Charlotte, FL dental office, both of our dentists are dental surgeons with more than 30 years of experience, so they know exactly what to do for a dental implant procedure. They will carefully place a titanium root in the socket where the old tooth’s root used to be. In about six to 12 weeks, the bone will fuse around the root, making it strong and secure. Once your mouth has healed, we will attach a replacement tooth made to look and feel like one of your other teeth.
The success rate for dental implant surgery is up to 98%. Not only will we use a local anesthetic, but we can normally offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oral sedation to control any fear you might have beforehand.
The simple surgery needed to place dental implants might sound a little scary, but the real fear should be in not getting this done. Leaving that space empty is unhealthy, unattractive, and simply not necessary. If you have any questions about this procedure, or if you would like to schedule a consultation to see if dental implants are right for you, call us at 941-625-7877, and we’ll be happy to help.