You’ve got a problem. You’re missing a tooth, and you’re torn on whether to fix it or to opt for a dental implant. While the idea of a dental implant sounds attractive, the price is not so much as attractive as the idea of it. However, there are long term benefits to deciding to obtain a dental implant over simply leaving a missing tooth’s socket empty, and it might very well be worth the investment to decide on the dental implant overall.
It doesn’t really matter how you lost your tooth, whether it be from an accident, a fight or from deterioration of the jawbone due to an oral disease; a dental implant can help restore your mouth to full functionality as well as help to protect the surrounding teeth from future problems.
Restore natural functionality with dental implants
Regarding functionality, you can learn to deal with a missing tooth. Initially it might serve up some unwanted complications when chewing and might even have a slight, but noticeable impact on your speech; overall missing a non-prominent tooth usually isn’t a big deal. However, a dental implant is largely seen as a permanent solution to the missing tooth problem, and will help to restore your mouth to its original functioning condition. This will not only give you the peace of mind that you have a full set of teeth, the implanted tooth will function in the same way that a natural, permanent tooth would.
Protect surrounding teeth with a dental implant
The biggest reason that a dental implant should be a consideration when a tooth socket has become empty is to protect the integrity of the jawbone and surrounding teeth that are still attached around the area where the tooth is missing. When a tooth is extracted or lost and not replaced, the jawbone typically deteriorates to an extent, compromising the long term integrity of your other permanent teeth, at least the ones surrounding the missing tooth area. Whether it be simple bone loss or some other form, it’s common that a jawbone quickly thins where a permanent tooth has been removed and not replaced.
A consideration that could be made if a tooth is simply broken off, as opposed to completely missing or needing to be removed, is to have a temporary or permanent cap placed on the broken tooth. While a “permanent” dental cap is a viable option for a broken tooth, it can be seen as putting a band-aid on a moderate wound; it likely will have to be tended to over and over again as time goes on. Dental caps are notorious for falling off or loosening, though that is largely dependent on how and where the cap is placed as well as your lifestyle. In some instances a tooth extraction followed by a dental implant may be the best solution; however this should be decided with the input of a dental professional who is knowledgeable about your lifestyle as well as your history so that the right conclusion can be made based on your unique situation.
Whether you choose to go the route of a dental implant or simply decide to leave a missing tooth as-is is a matter of personal choice as long as there are no other oral health considerations to factor in. However, there are long term benefits for the general health of your mouth when choosing an implant procedure and all considerations for or against a dental implant should come about only after asking your dentist about the best route for you.