If you recently lost a tooth or had to have one pulled out, you may be wondering whether it's worth it to replace it with an implant or a bridge. You may be tempted to just leave that space empty, especially if you cannot see the missing tooth when you smile. While this may seem like the most cost-effective decision right now, it's not the best choice for your long-term dental health and will probably end up costing you more in the long run. Here are three reasons to always have a missing tooth replaced.
Your jaw bone may deteriorate.
The roots of your teeth in your jaw bone keep the bone strong and structured. When you lose a tooth and there's no longer a root in that portion of your jaw bone, the bone starts to deteriorate. This can have some serious consequences. Your smile may begin to appear sunken-in, and the teeth near the missing one may start to feel loose since there's less bone supporting them. It will likely cost a lot more to repair the cosmetic damage and save these other teeth later on than it costs to get an implant right away.
You may not be able to get an implant later.
If you change your mind and decide you want a dental implant a few years down the road, you may not be able to get one. Once your jaw bone deteriorates to a certain point, it's no longer strong enough to support the implant -- which would be placed directly into your jaw bone. Some patients are able to get implants after bone graft procedures, but having a bone graft can add months to your implant process and can also be quite uncomfortable. Get that implant now so you're not stuck without one in the future.
You'll protect your other teeth.
If you don't replace the missing tooth, the neighboring teeth will slowly start to shift into the empty space. They may then begin to experience decay and uneven wear. Then, as they shift, the teeth next to them also start shifting and experiencing uneven wear. Before you know it, every tooth in your mouth is suffering because you did not replace that one missing tooth.
Don't let the process of having a dental implant inserted scare you away. While it is a surgical procedure, having the implant put into place will actually save you from a lot of painful and expensive consequences later on in life. Click here to find out more about dental implants.