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Medically Reviewed By Periodontal & Implant Surgeons of Houston
19 February 2024
Home » Dental Implants » Why Should I Replace Just One Tooth with an Implant?

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Losing a tooth can cause concerns about your oral health and how the missing tooth will affect your smile. While considering tooth replacement options, you may wonder if a single-tooth implant is worth it. Knowing why a dental implant is better than a nonsurgical alternative for supporting your long-term oral health can help you decide.

Why Replace One Tooth with an Implant?

A dental implant is more effective because it replaces a missing tooth from root to crown, preserving aesthetics and function while avoiding several oral health complications.

Jawbone loss

Without stimulation from tooth roots or an implant, the jawbone around a missing tooth resorbs. Studies show that after the first three months of tooth extraction or loss, two-thirds of associated soft and hard tissue experience some degree of resorption.

Teeth Misalignment

Teeth support one another and help maintain alignment. Tooth loss and jawbone shrinkage cause surrounding teeth to lose support and drift out of position, creating the following concerns:

  • Gaps – When the jawbone lacks enough teeth, spaces can form between them.
  • Crowding – Teeth may drift at angles, causing crowding.
  • Decreased space for tooth replacement – When teeth drift into the space of the missing one, less room is available for a replacement tooth.

Reduced Chewing Efficiency

Properly aligned teeth support chewing efficiency. As teeth shift, chewing efficiency reduces. The effects include:

  • Uneven chewing – Teeth that meet unevenly break down food ineffectively.
  • Jaw and teeth discomfort – Longer chewing times and increased effort can cause sore jaw muscles and teeth.
  • Digestive concerns – Inadequately chewed food hinders nutrient absorption and proper digestion.

Oral Hygiene Challenges

Misalignment from a missing tooth can create hard-to-reach areas for brushing and flossing, with the following effects:

  • Plaque and tartar buildup – Inadequate flossing accelerates buildup.
  • Gum disease – Lingering bacteria promote inflammation and infection.
  • Tooth decay – Increased decay risks may require more frequent dental hygiene appointments.

Nonsurgical Tooth Replacement

A fixed dental bridge is a non-surgical alternative to a single-tooth dental implant. However, supporting the bridge requires shaving down adjacent teeth, which has the following effects:

  • Weakens teeth – Grinding away healthy tooth structure weakens the anchor teeth.
  • Increases stress – Anchor teeth in a dental bridge absorb more chewing pressure.
  • Promotes decay – Weak teeth have a higher risk of decay and loss.

Single-Tooth Implant Advantages

A single-tooth implant has the jawbone as its foundation. It stimulates the bone, prevents shrinkage, and preserves your smile.
Benefits include:

  • Prevents misalignment – Teeth maintain their position without new gaps or crowding.
  • Preserves chewing efficiency – You can maintain a harmonious bite that supports thorough chewing and digestion.
  • Minimizes oral hygiene challenges – Your ability to brush and floss efficiently helps control plaque and tartar buildup, protecting your teeth and gums from disease.

Learn More About Single-Tooth Implants

Replacing one tooth with an implant preserves your jawbone, teeth alignment, and smile. Learn more about single-tooth implants and how they work from Periodontal and Implant Surgeons of Houston.