A gap in your smile is probably one of the most immediate concerns that come to mind when you lose a tooth, but unfortunately absent teeth can threaten more than just your appearance. While the crown (body) of a tooth serves as the visible portion that completes your smile, the tooth root has an equally important role in stimulating and strengthening your jawbone. Without a root embedded in the gumline to maintain the density of the bone, it will gradually recede at a rate consistent with how long the space remains unfilled. Along with this bone loss are other risks of missing and extracted teeth, such as:
- Changes in your facial appearance due to bone loss
- The shifting of surrounding teeth, possibly resulting in a poor bite (malocclusion)
- The inability to chew certain types of foods
- TMD (temporomandibular disorder) symptoms, such as headaches and pain in the facial muscles
- A higher risk of gum disease, heart disease, and other health conditions
- Altered speech
There are many ways to replace a tooth, but the best method of restoring the visible tooth body and recovering proper bone support is through placement of dental implants. An implant is a small titanium post designed to mimic the function of a natural tooth root, on top of which a realistic-looking dental crown can be placed to effectively restore the form and function of a lost tooth. An implant crown is generally the closest match to a natural tooth available, but other options like a dental bridge can also be used to replace one or several teeth. Dr Clarence Tam and her talented associates can guide you through your different treatment choices and help you select the best tooth replacement based on your needs. Reach out to our practice to schedule a consultation, or to speak to a member of our team for more information.