If you are missing teeth and thinking about replacing them with dental implants, it’s important that you do so as soon as possible. While you never want to rush into important healthcare decisions, there are reasons to act quickly where implants are concerned. Missing teeth can cause your face to look sunken or saggy and may result in your gums and jawbone to deteriorate while your other teeth shift.
What are the repercussions of getting dental implants later?
If you wait too long to get a dental implant you may not be able to get it at all. Parts of your jawbone exist specifically to hold the roots of your teeth in place. Without teeth to hold, the jawbone starts to deteriorate and is reabsorbed back into the body. Dental implants mimic the structure of real teeth and require the support of your jawbone to hold them in place. If your bone has deteriorated too much, you may need to have reconstructive surgery before the implant is placed and may not be able to get the implant at all.
How long does it take for bone tissue to deteriorate?
The amount of time it takes the jawbone to deteriorate will vary from one person to another. As a general rule, however, your jaw will undergo some degree of change in 3 to 6 months. You will likely experience crucial jawbone loss about 18 months after the loss of a tooth. It’s important to have an implant placed within this window whenever possible.
How fast can teeth occupy the gap left by an extracted tooth?
If a tooth is pulled or lost, the teeth next to it may shift left or right to fill the gap. Teeth on your opposite jaw may also move. If, for example, you loose a bottom tooth, the tooth above it may shift downward. Your teeth can start shifting quickly after an extraction or loss and may move in as little as 3 to 6 months. Your teeth will move more quickly if your bite is misaligned as poorly aligned teeth may put undue pressure on one another.
What happens to the gums if there are no teeth to hold?
As the bone underneath your gums shrinks, so do the gums themselves. The bone provides structure for your gums that simply may not be there anymore, allowing your gum tissue to sag and shrink. Implants and bridges are permanently put in place only once the gums are done shrinking so that the dentist knows where to put your new teeth for a natural look.