Single Tooth Replacement with Dental Implants
Losing a single tooth, particularly one toward the back of the mouth, out of view when you smile, may not seem like a big deal. However, even losing one tooth can have a major impact on your quality of life. One missing tooth can impact your ability to thoroughly chew your food. Food can get lodged in the space, increasing your risk for gum disease. Your speech may be impacted. The jawbone where the tooth used to begin to resorb and grow weak. The adjacent teeth begin to shift out of alignment, throwing off your bite. Even if your missing tooth does not affect your appearance, it is still important to replace it. At Pacific Maxillofacial Center, we can replace your missing tooth with a single tooth dental implant.
Traditional Single Tooth Replacement
Traditionally, a single missing tooth has been replaced with a bridge (a.k.a. fixed partial denture) or a flipper (a.k.a removable partial denture). A bridge is usually made from metal (i.e. gold) or ceramic. It is a single unit consisting of a replacement tooth with a dental crown on each side. The crowns act as anchors, securing the bridge to the adjacent healthy teeth. To ensure a proper, natural fit, enamel needs to be removed from each adjacent tooth. These restorations also cannot stop the bone loss that follows tooth loss and need periodic replacement to accommodate weakening bone.
Dental implants are the most contemporary options for tooth replacement. They are the most popular option for replacing missing teeth, and are now considered the "gold standard." They consist of three basic pieces. The implant itself is a small titanium post that is implanted directly into the jawbone. It relies on osseointegration, or the fusion of your jawbone to the post, for success. An abutment, or connector, is placed on top and is meant to provide stability for the last piece, the crown. The crown, made from metal (i.e. gold) or ceramic, replaces the visible portion of the missing tooth, restoring your abilities to eat and speak, as well the appearance of your smile.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants offer numerous benefits.
|They look and feel just like natural teeth.
|The crowns, which are anchored to the implants, are stable, and will not slip out of place.
|They are more comfortable.
|There is no need to alter your adjacent teeth.
|The implant mimics the root of your natural tooth and stimulates the jawbone. This works to stop bone loss in your jaw and maintain its integrity.
|They do not decay, rust, or corrode over time.
|They do not require any special care other than the usual brushing and flossing.
|They provide the best long-term solution to replacing a lost tooth. There is no life-span to a well-maintained implant.
Single Tooth Implant Process
Single tooth implants are placed in a surgical procedure. Before we begin, a local anesthetic is administered, ensuring that you will not feel any pain. Sedation is also provided if necessary, which helps you to relax while we place your implant. A small incision is made in the gum tissue, exposing the bone. A hole is drilled into the jaw, and the implant is placed. Finally, the tissue is sutured closed around the implant.
Healing from surgery will take 2-6 months. While you heal, you will have periodic follow-up visits, during which we make sure that the implant is integrating properly. Once you have fully healed, we will refer you back to your restorative dentist. Impressions are taken of your mouth and sent to a dental lab. There, the permanent crown is designed and created. When it is ready, your restorative dentist will affix it into place using a small screw.
It may be easy to ignore a missing tooth that does not affect your appearance, but doing so can have serious consequences. Replacing that missing tooth will help to restore the functions of your mouth, your oral health, and your quality of life. If you have multiple missing teeth, we can also provide multiple tooth replacements with dental implants. For more information, and to schedule your consultation, call Pacific Maxillofacial Center, today at 808-585-8455