A single tooth implant is used when a person has at least one tooth missing. It can be used for people who have more than one tooth missing in different areas of their mouth, but generally it’s used for one missing tooth.
Before the implant can be set in place there will be several factors that will examined by your dentist to ensure that you’re a candidate for a single implant procedure.
In some cases there will be work required on the bone in the jaw (bone augmentation) prior to a patient receiving an implant. An implanted tooth consists of several parts, the implant, the abutment, and the restoration.
- Implant: It is constructed of the highest quality titanium material and placed in either the lower or upper jawbone where the patient has a missing tooth.
- Abutment: This could be made up of porcelain, gold, or titanium and is attached to the implant using a screw. This is the part that will connect the implant to the actual crown itself.
- Restoration: This is the crown (the part that looks like an actual real tooth) and is usually constructed with porcelain which is combined together with a metal alloy or it can be an all metal or all porcelain crowns also. It can be either cemented to the abutment or screwed to the implant or abutment depending on the type of implant you have in place. The restoration material will be made to match the coloring of the crown itself which will also be constructed to match the color of your natural teeth.
A dental implant provides several advantages over other tooth replacement options. In addition to looking and functioning like a natural tooth, a dental implant replaces a single tooth without sacrificing the health of neighboring teeth. The other common treatment for the loss of a single tooth, a tooth-supported fixed bridge, requires that adjacent teeth be ground down to support the cemented bridge.
Because a dental implant will replace your tooth root, the bone is better preserved. With a bridge, some of the bone that previously surrounded the tooth begins to resorb (deteriorate). Dental implants integrate with your jawbone, helping to keep the bone healthy and intact.
In the long term, a single implant can be more aesthetic and easier to keep clean than a bridge. Gums can recede around a bridge, leaving a visible defect when the metal base or collar of the bridge becomes exposed. Resorbed bone beneath the bridge can lead to an unattractive smile. And, the cement holding the bridge in place can wash out, allowing bacteria to decay the teeth that anchor the bridge.
Our dentist will examine your mouth and will take one or more x-rays of the area. This will help him determine the optimal placement of the tooth implant and prepare for the dental implant procedure.
The tooth implant is installed. At this time, a temporary tooth is provided that allows you eat and function like normal almost immediately. Your new dental implant will need a few months to heal and integrate with the jawbone before the permanent porcelain crown can be attached.
The final step in the dental implant procedure is the placement of the permanent ceramic tooth onto the tooth implant. The new tooth is installed for life. No additional treatment is needed.
Once your permanent crown is placed on the dental implant, you should expect the new tooth to fit, look and function just like a natural tooth. Your regular dental hygiene routine should be sufficient to keep the tooth and gum around it clean. You can expect to enjoy your new tooth for decades to come!