If you are missing one of your natural teeth, a tooth implant makes an attractive and realistic looking replacement. Your oral surgeon also replaces the missing roots of your tooth to provide better stabilization of your jaw. People often feel interested in the idea of getting a tooth implant but delay scheduling oral surgery for the procedure due to fear of the unknown, finances, or just not wanting to take the time to do it. Below we explore what can happen when you postpone the oral surgery.
Waiting More Than a Year to Get a Tooth Implant
Your teeth work as part of a coordinated team. When one of them is suddenly no longer there, the others can begin shifting in response. This can quickly destroy bone mass that could support a dental implant. You may need to have a bone graft performed before receiving a tooth implant. During this procedure, your oral surgeon removes small fragments of bone from one area of your mouth and transfers it to the area receiving the implant. You then need to wait for healing from the bone graft procedure. This only increases the total time required to receive the implant.
For some people with missing teeth, alignment becomes such a problem that they require orthodontic treatment. That is a longer and costlier process than it would have been to simply get the dental implant in the first place.
When You Can No Longer Get a Tooth Implant Because You Waited Too Long
Unfortunately, some people will have so little bone mass from delaying the tooth implant procedure that an oral surgeon will not be able to perform it. In this case, you should speak to your regular dentist about options such as a dental bridge or removable denture to fill the spot left by your missing tooth. While both of these options provide you with improved aesthetics, they do not offer you the same oral health benefit as an implant. That is because the implant replaces your roots as well, which stabilizes your jaw and does not have a negative impact on your facial structure.
When is the Best Time to Receive a Tooth Implant?
Ideally, you should start the dental implant process almost immediately after having a tooth extracted or losing it due to facial trauma. That is because you still have all of the bone mass in the area that you lost the tooth and your remaining teeth retain their original position. The longer you wait to schedule oral surgery, the more the bone around the tooth socket will start to deteriorate and soften. This can cause your other teeth to move out of alignment, which makes the implant more challenging and potentially uncomfortable or impossible to complete.
If you are considering a tooth implant, contact us at Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery to learn more about the entire process. We will let you know if you have adequate bone mass to complete the procedure and what you can expect with each step.