Dental implants are titanium screws that are placed into your jawbone to replace lost, missing, or severely infected teeth. These prosthetics serve as foundations for the artificial crown that allows you to easily bite and chew your food.
If you lose a single tooth, it can result in crooked teeth, bone loss, and reduce the aesthetics of your smile. That is why Dr. Brian Alder at Alder Dental recommend using a single-tooth implant.
The Single-Tooth Implant Process
Placing an implant is a multi-step procedure that requires several sessions over a period of six to 12 months, depending on the condition of your jaw. In the case of a single-tooth implant, you can expect to complete the treatment within seven months for the upper jaw and five months for the lower jaw. That’s because the mandible of the lower jaw is the largest bone in the human skull and has a higher bone density.
However, if your jawbone density is low, we can also build up your bone to support the implant. This would require undergoing bone augmentation therapy as well, which can increase your time period of getting a dental implant to about 12 months.
The process starts by making a small hole into the gum and jawbone where the implant is to be planted. Using small instruments, we then precisely place the implant into the jawbone and then stitch the wound closed. The healing process takes about three to six months.
Once your gums are back to their normal size and the implant has fused to your jaw, we will make a new incision of that size to expose the implant. A healing collar is placed on top of the implant, which allows the gums to heal without covering the implant. After a few weeks, we will remove the healing cap and insert a rod-like structure, known as the abutment, to the implant. The purpose of the abutment is to firmly fix the artificial tooth or crown to the implant.
Benefits of Single-Tooth Implants
A single tooth implant offers many benefits over dental bridges and dentures.
|A denture is not affixed to your jawbone, which means it does not provide as much stability as a dental implant.
|Dentures also do not allow you to exert as much chewing force, which means that you cannot eat tough and hard food, but also may lose your bone over a period of time. Dental implants, on the other hand, offer optimal chewing force and prevent bone loss.
|Since a dental implant appears and feels like a natural tooth, it does not feel bulky in the mouth, unlike a denture.
|Dental implants do not require special maintenance and should be taken care of like regular teeth, unlike dentures, which need to be removed from the mouth for cleaning and before bed.
|Dental implants do not require removing the structure of healthy teeth, which is the case if you use dental bridges. Dental bridges require shaving down the natural teeth adjacent to the gap and covering them with crowns that support the bridge.
|Denture bridges also cannot withstand a lot of chewing force and can crack or become damaged if you try to bite into hard foods like apples.
Dental implants, whether they are single-tooth or multiple-tooth, offer a lot of advantages as compared to other dental restorative options. If you are missing a tooth and want to have that gap filled, schedule an appointment with Dr. Brian Alder by calling (360) 831-0831 today.