Single Tooth Implant
You know you can get dentures if you lose all your teeth. You may have even heard of a bridge, which can replace several teeth at once. But when you’re missing just one tooth? It doesn’t seem so bad, especially if the missing tooth is in the back of your mouth. But it is bad. A single missing tooth can throw your whole bite off. Learn why a single tooth implant is the best tooth replacement ever invented.
Some dental procedures are both restorative and cosmetic. A single tooth implant fits both categories. An implant completes the functionality of your mouth, protects your jaw bone from degrading and holds all your other teeth in place. On the other hand, it looks nice and matches the color of your other teeth.
But when you’ve lost a tooth — from disease or accident — you’re not alone, as many Americans have or will lose a tooth in their lifetime, states the American College of Prosthodontics. Today, you have choices for replacing it, such as a:
How Is an Implant Different?
While you have options for replacing a single tooth, only a dental implant stimulates your bone and gums. The reason is that an implant lives up to its name: it’s implanted into your bone, where it acts like the root of a natural tooth. All the other tooth replacements sit on top of your gums; they aren’t anchored to your bone.
- The post or foundation. Made of titanium metal, the post is the piece that gets embedded into your bone. Titanium is accepted by most people’s bodies, so the post and bone fuse, creating the root of the artificial tooth. The post actually spurs bone growth.
- The abutment or connective piece. The abutment attaches to the post, which may be below the gum line. Acting like the core of the tooth, it rises above, presenting an anchor to the third piece of the implant: the dental crown.
- The crown. The crown is the tooth-like appendage for the implant. It looks and acts just like a real tooth. Color-matched to your other teeth, it’s virtually undetectable once put in place. Crowns can be composed of porcelain or zirconia metal.
Why You Should Choose an Implant
Your implant specialist at Dental Associates of Morris County recommends single tooth implants as the best solution for replacing a missing tooth. Several of the most persuasive arguments for implants include:
- Implants are permanent; you don’t have to remove them every night.
- They’re easy to clean and care for.
- They encourage bone growth and prohibit bone loss.
- They can last a lifetime with proper care.
- They have a long history.
- They’re recommended by more restorative and cosmetic dentists.
- Risks and side effects are minimal, when implanted by an experienced dentist.
In fact, one risk is the possibility of infection, which is a risk from any surgical procedure. There’s also the slight possibility of nerve damage or sinus cavity damage, for an upper implant only.
Who Can Get a Single Tooth Implant?
Not everyone wants an implant. Some people don’t want to undergo dental surgery, and some people are quite satisfied with their dentures. Some don’t get to have implants because of health reasons. To qualify for a single tooth implant, you must:
- Be in good health
- Have lost a tooth
- Have healthy gums and other teeth
- Have adequate bone structure remaining to support the implant
- Have a jaw bone that’s mature
- Accept that your recovery will take months
- Commit to the process
The Procedure for a Dental Implant
Your implant procedure takes more than one visit to your dentist in Madison, NJ. The steps required include:
- At your first visit, your dentist thoroughly examines your mouth, gums and bone. Your existing teeth are checked, too. Not only do you have to be in good health, but your jaw bone or upper jaw have to have good bone integrity to support the implant.
- If necessary, your dentist resolves any lingering oral health issues. It may be that you just require a good cleaning. But you may need more extensive treatment, such as a root canal. You can’t continue the implant process until you adequately recover from these procedures.
- Once you’re ready for your implants, your dentist rechecks your bone mass underneath the missing tooth. If your tooth has been gone for a long while, it’s possible that bone has eroded a little. If you need bone fortification, a bone graft is performed. Again, you can’t continue until you’ve healed.
- At your next dentist visit, you’re ready for the implant post. Your dentist surgically inserts it into your bone. This is out-patient surgery, but it’s not painful at Dental Associates of Morris County because they can use sedation techniques, if warranted. You must wait up to five months for the post to fuse to your jaw bone before you can continue this process.
- Once your mouth has healed, you’re ready for the abutment, which attaches to the post. You’re given a temporary crown until the permanent one can be fabricated.
- Finally, after about five weeks or so, your mouth is healed and the permanent crown is ready. Your New Jersey dentist fits the crown, makes any necessary adjustments and cements it in place.