Patients who are looking at their options when trying to replace a single tooth are often presented with two avenues. Historically, many patients were forced with only being able to be fitted for a crown. Now patients can and often choose, to have a single tooth implant. There are many advantages to a single implant rather than a bridge, but function and appearance generally rank high on many patient’s priorities.
A single implant is designed to replace just a single tooth. The implant is two different approaches. The first installs a post into the gum and bone so that the implant can be attached to the top. This post is treated with a special coating that helps the body not only accept it but also rebuild new bone around it. In contrast, dental bridges are false teeth that are placed and cemented between the other two teeth. In order to get a good fit, the surrounding teeth must also be ground down to allow for the implant to properly fit and adhere in place. This process causes additional damage to what are otherwise healthy teeth.
Dental bridges also don’t help the underlying bone strengthen. Bridges are associated with bone resorption. This is when the body no longer needs the bone and begins to recycle it back into the body. Over time, this bone loss can lead to a change in facial appearance, tooth retention, and overall oral health.
Placing an implant happens in either one or two office visits depending on our dentist. A two-stage installation uses the first appointment to install the post and coating. The dentist may then wish to make some additional measurements and allow the post to heal before placing the final implant. While you are waiting for your next appointment, you may be fitted with a temporary implant. Typically, patients must wait a few weeks to allow the gums and bone to heal and for the bone to begin to regrow around the implant. Your permanent implant is being prepared based off the measurements that our dentist completed. This ensures that the result is a tooth that looks, functions, and feels like your natural tooth.
Implants are specifically designed to fit in the space between the existing teeth without additional gaps and to make sure that it is in proper alignment. Additionally, the tooth will be colored to match your existing teeth so that it does not look out of place. The final tooth will look and feel so much like your natural teeth that nobody else will even notice your implant.
Fortunately, single implants are incredibly easy to care for. Dentists suggest that you follow the same routine that you would generally use for a healthy mouth. This means that patients should brush twice a day for two minutes, floss daily, and receive regular dentist visits (every six months). Dentists also suggest that you don’t use any metal objects on your implants. There are specific tools designed for use with dental implants that won’t mar the surface of your implant.
Many patients also use additional dental tools like water picks or gum stimulators to ensure that their oral health remains in top condition. If you notice any problems with your dental implant, you should schedule an appointment with our dentist immediately.
Many patients find that single implants are the best option for the replacement of their missing tooth. Single implants offer a natural appearance and function, so you can feel confident in your smile no matter where you are. If you are considering a dental implant, contact us and schedule your appointment today and review your options for single implants.