If you’re missing a single tooth, you’ve got a lot of company. If you ignore the gap — maybe it’s in the back of your mouth and you’ve taught yourself to eat around it — it can still come back to hurt you. Even a single missing tooth can impact your bite, your speech and your health. A single tooth implant is a permanent solution that looks as good as it works. Not everyone qualifies for an implant, though. Speak to the implant experts at CitiDental to see if you’re a candidate.
According to the American College of Prosthodontics, there are millions of people in the U.S. who have at least one missing tooth. The causes vary, of course, but it’s often from an accident <Link to Dental Accident> or neglect leading to gum disease. You don’t have to suffer with a gap in your smile, though, not when there are so many artificial tooth alternatives, such as:
- A partial denture
- A dental plate
- A dental bridge
- A dental implant
So if you’ve lost a tooth, for whatever reason, one of these solutions can help you replace it. In fact, a single tooth implant provides a permanent artificial replacement that’s proven and favored by restorative dentists and cosmetic dentists. The National Institutes of Health report that implants have enjoyed a successful history.
Who’s a Candidate for a Single Tooth Implant?
Some people who’ve lost a tooth don’t qualify for dental implants. To get an implant, you have to be able to undergo surgery, and you may even need other procedures as well. A candidate for a single tooth implant must have:
- A good health record, to be able to recover from the surgery
- Healthy gums and remaining teeth
- A fully mature jaw bone
- Enough jaw bone to support the implant; otherwise, a bone graft has to be done first
- A commitment to willingness to tolerate a months-long recovery
- A willingness to do what it takes so you don’t have to wear dentures, a bridge or a plate.
If you’re missing another tooth, you can have a second single tooth implant at the same time. The process is the same, and your recovery period should not be affected.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A single tooth implant replaces one tooth in your mouth. Its construction mimics a tooth, both in form and function. Implants have three components: a post, an abutment and a crown.
- The post is the foundation of the implant. It creates a root that is surgically embedded you’re your jaw bone. A titanium screw, it fuses to the bone and actually encourages bone growth, just as a natural tooth does.
- The abutment attaches to the post or screw. Since the post stops at the gum line, the abutment provides the anchor for the crown, the top part of the implant. It’s like the core of the tooth.
- The crown permanently connects to the abutment. Shaped like a tooth and usually made of porcelain or zirconia, the crown mimics a natural tooth in every way.
The three parts, when fitted together, act like a natural tooth, fused to your jaw bone and completely stable. You can eat any kind of food with an implant, and you care for it just as you do your other teeth.
Getting a Single Tooth Implant
The process for getting your implant requires several visits to your dentist. The evaluation, where your dentist determines if you’re a good candidate, is the first step, followed by:
- Your bones, gums and other teeth must be healthy before you can get an implant. If necessary, get all the restorative or maintenance dental work out of the way. You may need a simple cleaning, a filling or a root canal.
- The next step is to confirm you have sufficient bone mass beneath the space for your implant. If you do, you can move ahead. Otherwise, you may need a separate surgery for a bone graft. You can’t get your implant until you heal fully from the bone graft procedure, which can take up to a year.
- The actual implant procedure begins when your skilled dentist screws in the titanium implant post into your jaw bone. Ask about sedation dentistry options so you don’t feel pain. This procedure doesn’t take long, but you still need to heal completely from it before you can go to the next step. You usually need at least four months for recovery.
- After you’re healed, the post has fused to your bone. Your dentist then attaches the abutment to the post. Since your gums may have grown over the post, this may be minor surgery. A temporary crown fits on top of the abutment, allowing you to eat normally.
- After another month or so for healing, you return to CitiDental for your final visit. Your dentist cements the final crown in place and makes any other adjustments. You finally have a permanent replacement for your missing tooth!
Potential Risks and Side Effects
Most surgical procedures carry some risk. The implant surgery is no exception. Risks and side effects are rare but may include:
- An infection
- Damage to your sinus cavities
- Nerve damage
When you have a single tooth implant done by the experts at CitiDental in Queens, you give yourself better odds. Your dentist has the skills and experience to take care of you. Call today!