When you have lost a tooth, the other teeth will begin to shift to fill the gap. The more time that passes, the worse the situation will become. The shift in teeth creates more gaps in which food can enter, which can lead to further oral decay. The spaces that form in-between your teeth are harder to maintain. As a result, bacteria can form and can contribute to bone loss.
The Effects on Other Teeth
The tooth that was found on the other side of your jaw begins to search for the tooth that was supposed to correspond with it. This leads to the gum around this tooth beginning to recede. If the tooth does not find a new point of contact, it is more likely to fall out.
Other teeth wear out faster because they will have to work harder as a result of the missing tooth. This can exacerbate oral health decay with these teeth, and increase the likelihood that they will fracture. This can also lead to facial tissues sagging, which can lead to premature aging.
The Effects on the Jawbone
When there is a lack of stimulation in the bone as a result of a missing tooth, this increases the risk that jawbone will begin to deteriorate. Patients who were studied over the course of 25 years have found continued bone loss. The jaw can experience complete bone loss. Bone loss is even a problem if you are wearing dentures.
Dentures Vs. Dental Implants
Patients who have dentures often don't realize that they are experiencing bone loss in the jaw. The denture might begin to not fit properly and the patient might need to be fitted with a new denture. The dentures also place pressure on the tissue and bone, which might accelerate bone loss.
The Effects of Dental Implant Surgery
Fortunately, dental implants are able to stop and even revere the negative effects of losing a tooth. Patients sometimes believe that a dental implant is simply cosmetic, but it also stops your teeth from shifting and stimulates the jawbone so that it can continue to grow. Unlike with dentures, that often need to be fitted, an implant is meant to remain in place for decades. In some cases, your dental implant may remain in place permanently. For this reason, it's recommended that you find an oral surgeon who has been trained in dental implant surgery.