If you’ve lost a tooth, your dentist may have recommended getting a dental implant to fill the empty space and allow for optimal function of your teeth. The dental implant itself is only a replacement for the root of the lost tooth, so after the implant has been placed, you’ll still need to get a restoration, or replacement tooth. Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth.
To make the new tooth or teeth, your dentist will make an impression of your existing teeth, creating a model of your bite. The new restoration, most typically a crown, will be based on this model so it will blend in perfectly with the rest of your teeth. The crown is then attached to the connector point (abutment) on your implant.
Replacing a lost tooth is essential to a healthy mouth and a healthy body. It will provide you with increased aesthetics of course, but will also improve your speech, ease of eating, and oral hygiene.
There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth and jaw at risk of decay, so your doctor may recommend removal and replacement with a bridge or implant. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.
When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, your dentist may extract the tooth during a regular checkup or may schedule another visit for this procedure. The root of each tooth is encased within your jawbone in a "tooth socket," and your tooth is held in that socket by a ligament. In order to extract a tooth, your dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament holding it in place. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is important to share with your doctor any concerns or preferences for sedation.
Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift, causing problems with chewing or with your jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, your dentist may recommend that you replace the extracted tooth.