March 11, 2024
Medically Reviewed By Matthew T. Streelman, DDS, MD

Losing a tooth can be a stressful experience, but the good news is that modern dentistry offers a variety of solutions to restore your smile and oral health. One of the most important decisions you’ll face after a tooth extraction is tooth replacement. While regaining a complete smile is a priority, how soon should I replace the missing tooth?

The answer, like many things in dentistry, isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Generally, replacing a tooth sooner rather than later is ideal for your long-term oral health. However, your unique health situation may require a small amount of time between your extraction and your dental implant placement.

Why Timing Matters After a Tooth Extraction

The human jaw is a remarkable structure that constantly adapts. When a tooth is missing, the jawbone in that area begins a process known as jaw bone resorption. This means the bone starts to shrink and lose density as it no longer needs to support the tooth root. The longer this process goes on, the thinner the jawbone becomes, which can lead to several complications. For instance, the remaining teeth may begin to shift out of place, causing bite problems and difficulty chewing. Additionally, a weakened jawbone can make future dental implant placement more challenging.

Therefore, replacing a lost tooth with a dental implant as soon as possible after a tooth extraction offers significant benefits for your oral health. In some cases, qualified patients may even be candidates for immediate implant placement. This innovative technique allows the dentist to extract the tooth and place the dental implant during the same appointment, minimizing bone resorption and expediting the restoration process.

Considering Different Scenarios for Tooth Replacement

However, it’s important to understand that not every patient is a perfect candidate for immediate implant placement. Some individuals may require additional procedures before receiving a dental implant, such as gum disease treatment or bone grafting. In these instances, some healing time will be necessary following these procedures before moving forward with tooth replacement.

Learn More About Tooth Extractions and Replacement Options

At Mercer Island Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we understand the importance of a healthy smile. Our team of experienced doctors is dedicated to providing patients with personalized treatment plans to address their unique needs. If you have recently lost a tooth or are considering tooth replacement options, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with us. We can discuss your situation, explore the best course of action for your oral health, and answer any questions you may have about tooth extractions and dental implants. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!