Single Tooth Replacement with Dental Implants
For many people, the loss of a single tooth is often easily ignored, especially when that tooth is toward the back of the mouth, out of view when they smile. However, even missing just one tooth can have a serious impact on many of the daily functions of your mouth. Chewing, the critical first stage of digestion, is affected. Food can get stuck, increasing your risk for gum disease. Your speech may be impacted. Depending upon the location of the tooth, your smile may be affected. Following the loss of even just one tooth, your jawbone starts to weaken, which can cause the rest of your teeth to shift out of their natural alignment. At Timothy H. Kindt, DDS, we can replace single missing teeth with single tooth dental implants.
Traditional Replacement of a Single Tooth
Prior to the use of dental implants, a single missing tooth was replaced with a restoration known as a dental bridge. This restoration consists of a replacement (pontic) tooth set between two dental crowns. The process for placing a fixed bridge is similar to placing dental crowns. First, the adjacent healthy teeth (abutment teeth) are prepared. Enamel is removed, which enables the restoration to fit comfortably in place. Impressions of your mouth are taken, and are used to create your customized bridge. The bridge is then securely placed on the abutment teeth, which anchor the bridge in place.
What are Dental Implants?
Single tooth dental implants provide you with an alternative to a traditional fixed bridge, and can be used to replace a single missing tooth anywhere in your mouth. Instead of relying on adjacent teeth for support, your replacement tooth is supported by a single titanium rod. The implant is surgically inserted into the jawbone. As you heal, the bone fuses to the titanium, turning the rod into a stable support a ceramic crown. With a dental implant, your adjacent teeth are left completely intact, avoiding the need to remove enamel from perfectly healthy teeth. Single tooth dental implants are strong and stable. They provide a more natural appearance. They are more comfortable, as your crown is supported by the implant rather than your adjacent teeth. One of the biggest benefits of a single tooth implant, however, is that the implant helps to preserve the strength of your jawbone. This prevents changes in the shape of your jaw and your face. You also don’t have to worry about needing your restoration replaced later.
Single Tooth Implant Procedure
A single tooth dental implant requires a surgical procedure. Surgery begins with a local anesthetic. If necessary, sedation may also be used to help you remain relaxed and calm throughout your procedure. Incisions are made in the gum tissue, exposing the jawbone. A hole is then drilled into the jaw and the implant is placed. Your gums are sutured closed around the implant and a temporary tooth is placed while you heal.
Healing can take up to several weeks. During this time, your progress is monitored to ensure that the bone is fusing to the titanium. Once you have completely healed, impressions are taken and used to create your permanent replacement tooth. When ready, the tooth is screwed into place.
Even if you can’t see a single missing tooth, it can still have a serious impact on your oral health and quality of life. For more information on single tooth implants and to find out if they are right for you, contact Timothy H. Kindt, DDS at (480) 939-5818 today.