If a single tooth has gone missing, it’s not the end of the world. You are probably still able to eat, although with minor changes, and bite and chew, and you are probably not experiencing a speech impediment either. So why are all the dentists telling you to go and get that fixed? Despite what many think, it is not to fatten their own pockets: they actually have your best interest at heart. You need a dental implant even for “just” a single missing tooth because tooth loss is a condition, and having a missing tooth leads to having more missing teeth. How does it work?
Although the jawbone seems like a solid entity, it is actually a layered contraption, with various kinds of tissue in it, some harder, some softer. The gums that cover the jawbone are the softest, but underneath it is a ridge of soft, malleable bone that the teeth are anchored into, and this soft ridge of bone, called the alveolus is surrounded by harder, denser bone tissue to protect the tooth roots and the dental nerve. The alveolus, then, is what all of your teeth are anchored in. If a tooth root goes missing, the alveolus is absorbed by the body, and is missing from that section of the mouth. This causes the stereotypical razor thin jawbone that we see around missing teeth, under the gums. When parts of the alveolus go missing, it is a big problem, as the rest of the tooth roots are still rooted in the alveolus, except now it is less able to stabilise and hold the tooth roots, so the teeth themselves become mobile, and start to fall out. This of course makes the process so much worse, and the other teeth also start to loosen and fall out, and this leads to mobile and loose teeth, and of course, to more tooth loss.
Why dental implants
Only dental implants can stop this process, as they are an artificial tooth root that is inserted into the alveolus, and thus it does not get absorbed back into the body, and the whole process does not start. Other forms of dental prosthesis do not replace the tooth roots, and as such, they are unable to prevent tooth loss as a condition from getting worse.