One of the primary goals of dentistry is to help patients preserve their permanent teeth for as long as possible, ideally for their entire lifetime. However, in some situations, teeth may simply be beyond saving; whether due to decay, periodontal disease, or even traumatic injury, teeth can become too damaged to be preserved. In these situations, it may be necessary to have those teeth removed altogether.
Before having teeth extracted, one of the top questions patients should ask is how they will replace their lost teeth. At OKC-OMS, we generally recommend dental implants as the ideal and longest lasting solution. For dental health reasons, we recommend that you replace any missing or lost teeth, regardless of the circumstances.
Why Missing Teeth Must Be Replaced
Why is it so important for lost or extracted teeth to be replaced through dental implants or other means?
Dental Implants for Smile Restoration
For one thing, replacing lost teeth simply helps restore your smile, both in terms of aesthetics and in terms of functionality. If you have had some teeth removed or extracted and long to once again smile confidently and bite down on your food without any worry, then getting dental implants is an essential step.
Dental Implants as Preventative Care
It is also important to note that getting dental implants can help you minimize the risk of future oral health problems.
For example, did you know that the natural root of your tooth provides ongoing stimulation for the underlying jawbone? When you have a tooth extracted, your jawbone no longer gets that stimulation, which can actually result in your jawbone deteriorating. Implants, which act as artificial roots or root replacements, help restore this stimulation and prevent tissue loss.
Additionally, getting dental implants helps you avoid bone resorption. This is a common side effect of tooth loss, characterized by the jawbone actually shrinking in size. Again, this is a serious problem that can be eliminated completely by ensuring the jaw has sufficient stimulation, something dental implants can provide.
Something else to note is that when you are missing teeth, it can cause your remaining teeth to shift in their position. This shift may open up little pockets for food particles and bacteria to accumulate under the gumline, which can put you at much greater risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Finally, when you lose teeth, one of the long-term effects can be a change in your facial appearance. By replacing lost teeth with dental implants, you can avoid this sunken or hollowed look.
Additional Reasons to Get Dental Implants
The bottom line for tooth extraction patients is that, by allowing lost teeth to go unreplaced, you open yourself up to a number of unwanted side effects. Tooth replacement helps minimize these risks and also provides you with a fully restored smile, both aesthetically and functionally.
Dental implants represent an especially advantageous way to replace lost teeth. There are a number of specific benefits that implants can provide:
- Dental implants are designed to last a lifetime. While certain dental prostheses, including bridges and dentures, will need to be replaced sooner or later, your implants are designed to be permanent with the proper care.
- Dental implants are more stable than dentures. Unlike dentures, implants will allow you to enjoy all of your favorite foods without any risk of the implant sliding, moving, or breaking.
- Dental implants allow you to have natural-looking results. Your dental implant can be capped with crowns, bridges, or even full dental arches that are custom-made to look like your natural teeth.
Getting Dental Implants Following an Extraction
Getting damaged or decaying teeth removed can be the first step toward restoring your smile. As you prepare for extraction, talk with your dentist about the next steps. Keep in mind that dental implants can help prevent gum disease, keep adjacent teeth stable, and even prevent further bone or tissue loss.
There are plenty of reasons to consider using implants to replace lost teeth. If you have any questions, we would love to chat with you further. Reach out to OKC-OMS in Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas whenever you are ready to discuss tooth extraction and dental implants.