Guide to Anterior Implants
Consequences of Missing Anterior Teeth
The loss of a front tooth can be traumatic, impacting both appearance and self-confidence. Unfortunately, most patients facing the decision of how to replace the missing tooth do not understand the major consequences of tooth loss, particularly bone resorption, or deterioration, and unnecessary compromise to the adjacent teeth with traditional bridges, as seen below.
The bone collapses, or caves in where the tooth root is missing.
Teeth cut down for a bridge, compromising health of the teeth.
When a tooth is lost or removed in the front of the mouth, where the bone is very thin, the bone will usually melt away rather quickly, giving the appearance that the bone and gums are caving in, or collapsing. In fact, in the first year after tooth loss there is a 25% decrease in width of the bone. Very often, this defect is visible when smiling, as seen in the photo above.
If a front tooth is replaced with a tooth supported bridge, eventually the replacement tooth looks like a false tooth as the gums and bone above the bridge begin to collapse, leaving the false tooth suspended without support.
Compromise to Adjacent Teeth
In the past, the most common method of tooth replacement has been the tooth-supported bridge, but this requires compromising the long-term health of the adjacent teeth. When the teeth on either side of the gap are cut down into pegs for bridges, the tooth structure that has been removed can never be replaced. This undermines the health of the teeth and what ensues is typically structural failure from decay, failed endodontic therapy, or fracture, increasing their risk of loss or the need for additional treatment over time, which can be extensive and costly.
In addition, these teeth now bear the forces that would normally be placed on three teeth, which further weakens the structure of these teeth and it is often necessary to cut down additional teeth to provide necessary support when the teeth supporting the bridge fail.