An implant is an excellent way to replace a missing tooth and keep a good-looking smile. A dental implant is a small titanium cylinder that's surgically inserted into the bone of the jaw to replace the root of a missing tooth. An artificial tooth is attached to the implant.
Placing a dental implant after a tooth's been lost can prevent a chain reaction of problems that could affect the entire mouth. Teeth need each other for support. When a tooth is lost, it changes the biting forces on the teeth next to the space, causing them to shift. When a tooth no longer has anything to chew against, it begins to extrude out of the socket. You can eventually end up losing that tooth, as well.
As your bite changes, it becomes increasingly difficult to chew your food, possibly damaging your jaw joint, the TMJ.
It's much harder to clean teeth that have shifted. Harmful plaque and tartar collect in these new hard-to-reach places, causing cavities and the permanent bone loss that comes with gum disease.
A bridge is another way to solve the missing-tooth problem. But two advantages of an implant over a bridge are that the teeth next to the space aren't affected with an implant as they are in the preparation for a bridge. Also, the implant helps stop the ongoing bone loss that occurs once a tooth has been lost.
A missing tooth really changes a person's smile, but a dental implant can replace the missing tooth and greatly improve your smile!