A single dental implant offers a vastly superior solution for a missing tooth because it restores the lost tooth root, and surrounding healthy teeth remain unharmed. In many cases, a single dental implant and an attached temporary crown can be placed in one day. However, this reduces the long-term success rate from 99% to about 90%. The preferred approach is to place the dental implant and allow it to bond to the bone for four to six months before placing a permanent implant crown. During this healing time, an Essix appliance – an invisible tray like an Invisalign aligner with a tooth in it – is an aesthetic temporarily used, and it is also undetectable.
Your natural tooth root helps maintain bone density, but when you have the unfortunate occurrence of losing a tooth, the bone will deteriorate over time. Since dental implants integrate with existing bone, your jaw structure remains intact and your oral health is preserved.
Single Tooth Implant What to Expect
If you are missing a single tooth due to disease or trauma, it can be easily replaced with a single dental implant. To replace a single tooth, a self-supporting dental implant is placed at the site of the missing tooth consisting of a titanium base, an abutment post and a crown or replacement tooth that will look and feel like a natural tooth.
How Does A Dental Implant Work?
An implant may be used to replace almost any missing tooth, provided there is adequate bone at the site. If not, modern procedures can usually be performed to regenerate enough bone to safely place an implant.
The dental implant is placed in the bone below the gum tissue. A temporary abutment may be placed on the implant until the healing phase is complete. A cosmetic temporary crown can often be made to fill the missing space.
After healing, the abutment is attached to the implant. It will hold a custom-made crown that the dental laboratory will mold and match to your existing teeth.
In the final step, the custom crown is cemented onto the abutment. The tooth has been replaced without disturbing the healthy teeth next to it and bone loss has been eliminated.
Dental Implant vs. Dental Bridge
A single dental implant is now considered the standard of care for those missing a single tooth. Dental bridges require filing down the two surrounding healthy teeth, so that they may act as anchors for a three-unit bridge (three artificial teeth) that is then cemented onto the two surrounding teeth. The damage to the structure of the surrounding teeth is permanent. These damaged teeth eventually fail due to the stresses placed on them by the bridge. The result is the eventual loss of those teeth and an even longer bridge.