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 LLC, 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 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.
What Is a Dental Implant?
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.
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. For more information, and to schedule your consultation, call Pacific Maxillofacial Center LLC, today at 808-585-8455.