A missing tooth not only affects your smile, but can also cause the bone that supported that tooth to shrink and also cause the other teeth to shift. Replacing a missing tooth as soon as possible can prevent other problems from creeping up later. One of the best ways to replace a tooth is with a dental implant. When just one tooth is missing, the procedure is called a single dental implant.
Single Dental Implant
WHAT ARE SINGLE DENTAL IMPLANTS?
ADVANTAGES OF SINGLE DENTAL IMPLANTS
When compared to dental bridges, implants have a few advantages which include:
- The implant replaces the root as well as the tooth.
- The implant fuses with the jawbone and prevents it from shrinking.
- Because it is fused with the bone, the implant is fixed firmly into the jaw.
- A single dental implant does not require the adjacent teeth to be ground down like bridges do.
- The crown fixed over the implant and abutment looks and feels exactly like a natural tooth.
- The implant is a long-lasting solution for a missing tooth which doesn’t decay. It also doesn’t crack or break easily.
GETTING A SINGLE DENTAL IMPLANT AT SAN ANSELMO FAMILY DENTISTRY
If you are missing a tooth and are interested in getting a single dental implant, give us a call to book an appointment. After we have given you an oral examination which will include an X-ray of the jaw, we will be able to decide if you are a good candidate for a dental implant.
To be a good candidate for a single dental implant you should:
- Have healthy gums.
- Have sufficient bone in the area where the implant has to be fitted.
- Be an adult with a fully developed jawbone.
- Be free from any chronic medical conditions.
- Be free of any dental diseases.
In the case of gum disease or other dental problems, we will first need to treat the condition before proceeding. For other medical conditions we will first need a go-ahead from the practitioner treating that condition. If there is insufficient bone to anchor the implant, we will first need to do a procedure called bone grafting.
Bone grafting involves, us taking a piece of bone from another part of the jaw and transplanting it in the area where we need to fix the implant. This is a procedure by itself and we need to give the area time to heal and for the graft to take. It takes a few months for new bone to grow around the graft and be strong enough to support the implant. Once it is ready, we can proceed with the implant.
DENTAL IMPLANT PROCEDURE
Getting a dental implant will take a few sittings and has to be done over a few months. The first step is fitting the implant into the jawbone. The implant is a titanium rod that is screwed into the bone. Over the next couple of months, the bone will fuse around the implant and anchor it firmly in place. The gum will also heal around the implant.
Once the healing is complete, we will make a small incision in the gum to expose the top of the implant. A second fixture called an abutment is fixed onto the implant. The abutment gives us something to attach the artificial tooth onto. Once again, we need to give the gum some time to heal before we go ahead.
While the gum is healing, we will prepare the crown. The crown is made of either ceramic or porcelain. The color of the crown is made to match the color of your other teeth so that it looks completely natural. It is also made to fit perfectly in the gap and to be completely functional like your own tooth would have been.
A temporary crown is fixed in place while the healing takes place, so that the gap is not left open. After the gum has healed completely around the abutment, the temporary crown is removed and the permanent crown can be fitted on it. The crown is screwed onto the abutment and fixed firmly in place. Once the procedure is complete, it is impossible to tell the artificial tooth apart from your natural teeth.
AFTERCARE INSTRUCTIONS FOR DENTAL IMPLANTS
Like your natural teeth, your dental implant needs to be cared for by regular brushing and flossing. The materials used to prepare the replacement tooth don’t decay like natural teeth or stain easily, but still need to be kept clean to prevent infections from affecting the other teeth. We also advise you to not bite on hard foods like hard candy nuts and ice because this could cause the crown to crack or chip. Even if the crown needs to be changed at some point, the implant should last a lifetime and will not need replacing.
To find out more about single dental implants or to book an appointment with us, please give us a call at one of the numbers listed below and we will be happy to help.