Why the Best Time to Consider Dental Implants Is at the Time of Tooth Loss
If you’ve lost a tooth and are looking for the most natural replacement, dental implants are the ideal option. Not only do they look, feel, and function like natural teeth, but they are low maintenance and long-lasting.
But you already knew that, and now you’re wondering when you should have this procedure done. How important is it to schedule a dental implant appointment right away? The short answer is: very. Time is of the essence, and here’s why.
Why Replacing Missing Teeth Immediately is Best
Your teeth and jaw are in a balanced relationship in which they depend on each other. The jaw supports the teeth, and the teeth stimulate the jaw. The moment a tooth goes missing, the body begins to remove the jawbone because it is no longer needed. In other words, the body considers the jawbone surplus material and uses its nutrients elsewhere when there is no tooth to support. Likewise, the stimulation provided by the tooth is what bulks up the jaw. Without it, the bone breaks down.
Bone Loss Speeds Up the Aging Process
This natural process of bone break down is called bone resorption and begins the moment the tooth is lost. The first thing to happen is the reshaping of the bone. Next, the bony ridge of the jawbone begins to deteriorate. As we lose bone in our faces, our profiles change, our faces take on a concave, shrinking effect, and we begin to look older.
When it comes to dental implants, they need the same support from your jawbone that your natural teeth require. So, if you wait to get an implant, you’ll have less bone because it will have begun the process of breaking down. Conversely, if you get an implant immediately after having lost a tooth, the mass of your jawbone will be ideal for implant placement. Like replacing a tooth that falls out naturally, it’s best if you get your implant right then and thereafter having a tooth extracted.
The Exception—When You Should Wait
It’s best if you can manage to get your dental implants right away, but you may have to wait if:
- You have an infection. Infections can cause implants to fail, so we must get rid of the infection before moving forward with implant placement. Whether it’s in your tooth or your gums, infections affect your jaw, so we’d clear up the infection first to set you up for dental implant success.
- You’ve lost too much bone. The good news is: it’s never too late to get dental implants. The sooner you get them, the easier the process. However, we can graft in more bone and build up your jaw, creating the most optimal conditions for a favorable outcome, if you’ve already waited. If you’re planning to have a tooth extracted, we can do a bone graft at the time of extraction or we can allow time for healing before placing the implant, depending on your situation. When you come in for a consultation, Dr. Li will evaluate your case and advise you on the best plan for treatment.
Where are you in the process? Have you recently lost a tooth? Are you planning to have a tooth extracted? Please call our Flushing, NY office to schedule an appointment with our oral surgeon Dr. Li today!
Missing Teeth? Consider Dental Implants!
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