Single Tooth Replacement With Dental Implants
You can lose a tooth for many reasons, including oral trauma and gum disease. No matter how a tooth is lost, many people who have lost a single tooth often ignore it. While it may not seem like a big deal, even one missing tooth can have a major impact on your oral health. A single missing tooth can affect your ability to properly chew your food. Food may get lodged in the space, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. A missing tooth can impact your speech, causing a lisp. Depending upon the location of the tooth, your smile may be affected. Even with just one missing tooth, the jawbone can begin to change shape. The surrounding teeth can shift out of alignment, throwing off your bite. Replacing a missing tooth is essential for restoring your oral health, and your smile. At Neil Starr, DDS, PC, we can replace a single missing tooth with a dental implant.
Traditional ReplacementTraditionally, a single missing tooth has been replaced with a dental bridge. While there are a few different types of bridges, the most common is a fixed bridge. This type of bridge consists of your replacement tooth set between two dental crowns. The crowns are used to anchor the restoration in place by attaching to the adjacent healthy teeth, referred to as the abutment teeth. To properly place the bridge, a small amount of enamel needs to be removed from each abutment tooth, and the bridge is cemented into place.
What Are Dental Implants?Dental implants are a revolutionary treatment method used to replace missing teeth. They consist of three major components. The implant itself is a small titanium rod that is surgically implanted into the jawbone. As you heal, the bone fuses to the implant, turning it into a stable root. An abutment, or connector, is placed on top. Finally, there is the crown or crowns. The crown, typically made out of ceramic, is designed to replace the visible part of your missing tooth. It is secured into place on the implant using a screw.
Dental implants offer several benefits over dental bridges. Along with restoring the basic functions of your missing tooth, dental implants are much more comfortable and more natural in appearance. They do not require the removal of any enamel from perfectly healthy teeth. The biggest benefit of dental implants is that the titanium rod helps to stop the bone loss that follows tooth loss. As a result, your jawbone remains strong and healthy. You will not have to worry about replacing your restoration later.
Replacing Your Missing ToothThe process of replacing a missing tooth with dental implants involves a surgical procedure. We begin with a local anesthetic and sedation. We then make small incisions in the gum tissue, exposing the jawbone. A hole is drilled into the bone, and the implant is placed in it. The gums are sutured closed around the implant, and a temporary tooth is placed. You are then sent home to heal.
Healing after a single tooth implant can take several weeks. During this time, we closely monitor your progress, making sure that the bone is fusing properly. Once you have healed, we begin the process of creating your permanent tooth. We take impressions of your mouth, which are sent to a lab. The impressions are used to fabricate the tooth. When it is ready, you return for a final visit during which we secure the ceramic tooth into place.
A single missing tooth might not seem like a big deal, but replacing that tooth is essential. Call Neil Starr, DDS, PC today at (202) 897-0015 to schedule your consultation and find out if dental implants are right for you.
Neil L. Starr, DDS, PC
1234 19th Street N.W. #306
Washington, DC 20036