If you’re missing a single tooth, you can choose to replace it with a dental bridge or a single-tooth dental implant. While bridges are a tried-and-true option that’s been around for decades, dental implants are becoming an increasingly popular restoration for many of our patients. They look and function just like natural teeth and they’re the only restoration that replaces the root of the missing tooth, which can prevent and even reverse bone loss.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is a single-tooth dental implant?
A single-tooth dental implant restoration is made with three parts: the dental implant, which is a small titanium post or screw that is surgically placed into the jawbone, an abutment that attaches to the dental implant, and a dental crown.
As suggested by the name, this type of restoration replaces one missing tooth. If more teeth are missing, there are other options for replacement. Two or more adjacent teeth can be replaced with an implant-supported bridge or partial, and an implant-supported denture can be used to replace a full arch of missing teeth.
Am I a candidate for a dental implant and crown?
If you are in good health, don’t have active gum disease, and have adequate bone mass in the jaw, you are likely a candidate for a dental implant and crown restoration. The only way to be certain, though, is with a consultation at our office. During this visit, we’ll go over your medical and dental history, examine your teeth and jaw, and take images if needed.
For cases where bone loss has already occurred, a procedure like bone grafting or a sinus lift may be recommended to ensure that your jaw has adequate support for implants.
What are the advantages of dental implants?
As mentioned above, dental implants are the only solution for missing teeth that replaces the root. This gives them a distinct advantage when compared to bridges and dentures. Bone loss in the jaw weakens your bite, compromises surrounding teeth, and can even lead to a prematurely-aged appearance due to facial collapse.
Dental implants are low maintenance and function just like your natural teeth. You’ll brush and floss as usual and eat the same foods you ate before losing your tooth. Your dental implant will last a lifetime, although the crown attached to it may eventually need replacement depending on the material from which it is made and the amount of wear it receives.