Losing a tooth can have a serious negative impact on your oral health and self-esteem. Luckily, modern dentistry makes it possible to restore your smile. There are two main options for the replacement of a single tooth: a bridge or a dental implant with a crown. A bridge attaches to the two natural teeth on either side of the gap, whereas an implant is placed in your jaw with the crown on top of it. Although dental bridges can be a good choice, dental implants have the added benefit of preserving the health of your jaw.
More information on tooth implants:
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a titanium post that an oral surgeon places in your jaw bone. It acts as an artificial tooth root. The root, as shown in the diagram above, is the portion of the tooth below the gum that extends into your jaw. The implant itself does not look or function like a tooth, so it is often paired with a crown, which is a synthetic tooth made of porcelain.
The Process of Getting an Implant and Crown
The first step in the tooth replacement process is a comprehensive oral exam, including X-rays. Your dentist will then create a customized treatment plan and will go over the process with you. The implantation process is performed by an oral surgeon, who will place the titanium post in your jawbone. If you have been missing this tooth for a long period of time, a bone graft may be necessary first to create strong enough support for the implant. Your surgeon and dentist will discuss this with you if the procedure is necessary.
Before your dentist can create and place a crown, the implant will need to fully heal and fuse with your jawbone. This is called osseointegration and generally takes several months. It may be possible to be fitted for a temporary tooth replacement during this time.
After you are done healing, your dentist will take an impression of the abutment, which is the portion of the implant above your gums, and the surrounding teeth. They will then create a custom porcelain crown. This tooth replacement is incredibly durable and looks natural. It can be cemented or screwed onto the abutment, giving you a beautiful new smile.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
A dental implant has many benefits, including:
Helps Prevent Bone Loss
When you lose a tooth, your jaw is no longer being stimulated by the root. Over time, your body may resorb the bone, causing nearby teeth to shift and possibly changing the shape of your face. An implant stimulates your jaw and helps prevent this.
Looks and Feels Natural
The combination of an implant and crown looks like a real tooth. It also makes it easier for you to eat and speak and doesn’t slip around like other types of restoration.
With proper care, a dental implant can last a lifetime. The crown will usually need to be replaced after 10-15 years, although this depends on where it is placed. Crowns in the front of mouth typically last longer than those in the back.
Smile Restoration by Smith Dentalworks
Pairing a dental implant with a crown is an excellent choice for single tooth replacement. At Smith Dentalworks, we can help you replace your missing tooth or teeth so you can eat, speak, and smile confidently.