For people who are missing a single tooth, one implant and a crown can be used to replace it. A dental implant will replace both the natural tooth that was lost as well as the root.
Single tooth implant versus a bridge
A dental implant has several benefits over other tooth replacement alternatives. Apart from dental implants looking and functioning like a person’s natural tooth, a dental implant can also be used to replace a single tooth without compromising the health of the neighbouring teeth.
Another treatment option available for individuals who lost a single tooth is a tooth-supported fixed bridge. However, this alternative to single tooth implant will require that the adjacent teeth is grounded down. This is done so it can support the cemented bridge.
Since a dental implant will replace the root of the tooth, the bone will be preserved better. With a bridge, there is a possibility that some of the bone the surrounds the affected tooth can deteriorate or resorb. Dental implants on the other hand integrate with the jawbone so it helps ensure the bone is kept intact and healthy.
Also, a single tooth implant looks more appealing than a bridge. It is also way easier to clean. In addition, a bridge can cause the surrounding gums to recede. When this happens, a visible defect is seen in the event the collar of the bridge or the metal base is exposed.
The resorbed bone beneath the bridge can also lead to a smile that is unattractive. Moreover, there is also the possibility that the bridge in place will wash out and will cause bacteria to decay the teeth that are anchoring the bridge.
Single tooth implant procedure
The dental implant which looks similar to that of a cylinder or screw is placed in the patient’s jaw. Over the next two to six months, the bone and the implant will be allowed to fuse together so an anchor for the artificial tooth is formed. While waiting, a temporary tooth replacement can be worn over the site of the implant.
In most cases, a second step is done to uncover the implant so an extension can be attached. The temporary healing cap will complete the foundation on which the new tooth will be placed. After the procedure, the gums will also be given at least 2 months to heal.
There are however one-stage implant systems that won’t require the second step mentioned above. These systems make use of implants that already have an attached extension piece. A dentist will be able to recommend the system that will work best for each case.
Lastly, a crown (replacement tooth) will be attached to a small metal post also known as an abutment. After only a short time, patients will be able to enjoy renewed confidence in their smile as well as their ability to chew and speak better. The good thing is dental implants look and feel just like natural teeth so patients can sometimes forget they are there.
When it comes to dental implants, every case can differ and some steps might be combined when the situation calls for it. A dental professional will recommend the best treatment plan for each patient so optimum results are achieved.