Dental work dates back thousands of years – the earliest known instance of dentistry was discovered in the tooth of a 14,000-year-old skeleton, where portions of the tooth had been cut away, probably with a stone tool, and likely as treatment for a cavity. We’ve come a long way since then, but one thing hasn’t changed, and that’s our desire to preserve our natural teeth.
Unfortunately, it’s not entirely uncommon to lose teeth to trauma, decay, and disease over time. While Paleolithic man had little recourse for rectifying tooth loss, modern man has the opportunity to virtually fill in the gaps with dental implants.
You might wonder why you should bother. After all, many generations of humans managed to survive without the miracles of modern dentistry, including dental implants. Of course, even a century ago, average life expectancy was less than 50 years – today it’s closer to 80.
The point is that you should take advantage of the modern conveniences available to you, such as advances in medicine and dentistry. In addition, it’s actually important to replace missing teeth for a number of reasons.
Protect Against Decay
This is perhaps the best reason to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant. Whenever you have a gap between teeth, it invites the buildup of bacteria, tartar, and plaque on exposed tooth surfaces.
Even with a tooth missing, it can be difficult to keep the space between teeth clean, and this could eventually lead to serious issues like cavities and gum disease. With a dental implant to fill the gap, you have a better chance to protect surrounding teeth from buildup and decay, especially with daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing, as well as regular dental visits.
Maintain Alignment and Bite
When you lose a tooth, it’s normal for surrounding teeth to begin shifting into the vacant space in your jaw. They might move inward, leaving gaps between other teeth, or they might start to lean like the Tower of Pisa.
In both cases, this could cause a chain reaction that leads to overall misalignment of teeth, changing bite patterns, and compensation when speaking or chewing that eventually affects your jaw. None of these scenarios are desirable.
Maintain Cosmetic Appearance
In addition to functional reasons for replacing lost teeth with dental implants, you probably want to preserve the appearance of your smile. Dental implants are the closest you can get to having a natural tooth.
These permanent crowns are affixed to titanium posts implanted in the jaw, and they look, feel, and function just like the teeth they replace so you can eat, drink, smile, and laugh with confidence.