What are the advantages of a single-tooth implant over a bridge?
A dental implant provides several advantages over other tooth replacement options. In addition to looking and functioning like a natural tooth, a dental implant replaces a single tooth without sacrificing the health of neighboring teeth. The other common treatment for the loss of a single tooth, a tooth-supported fixed bridge, requires that adjacent teeth be ground down to support the cemented bridge.
In the long term, a single implant can be more esthetic and easier to keep clean than a bridge. Resorbed bone and gum beneath the bridge can lead to an unattractive smile. And, should something happen to one of the anchoring the bridge, the entire bridge can be lost.
How will the implant be placed?
The implant, which looks like a screw or cylinder, is placed into your jaw. Over the next two to six months, the implant and the bone have time to bond together and this forms the anchor for your artificial tooth. During this time, we can discuss giving you a temporary tooth replacement option over the implant site.
Often, a second step of the procedure is necessary to uncover the implant and attach an extension. This temporary healing cap (abutment) completes the foundation on which your new tooth will be placed. Your gums may need to heal for a couple of weeks following this procedure.
There are some implant systems (one-stage) that do not require this second step. These systems use an implant which already has the extension piece attached.
Finally, a replacement tooth called a crown will be created for you by your dentist and attached to a small metal post, called an abutment. After a short time, you will experience restored confidence in your smile and your ability to chew and speak. Dental implants are natural-looking and feeling, you may forget you ever lost a tooth. Every case is different, and some of these steps can be combined when conditions permit. We will discuss all of the options available to you and come up with your best treatment plan.