If you've lost the crown of your tooth, you've lost the visible part above the gum. But if you've lost the root as well, you've lost the unseen part of your tooth. The root anchors the tooth in your jawbone, providing stable support for the crown. Without the root, the bone around the lost tooth may gradually recede, remaining teeth may shift and chewing may become more difficult with time.
In the past, the best way to replace a missing tooth was with fixed bridges or dentures. Bridges require healthy teeth to be cut down, and dentures can often be uncomfortable and unstable. The average denture patient with an excellent fitting denture eats at 15-20% efficiency when compared to a person with natural teeth. This is due to the continuous shrinkage of the jawbone, altering the fit of the denture.