People underestimate the importance of a complete teeth set. It is the reason missing one tooth might not seem to be a big deal, especially if the space left by the tooth cannot be seen when you smile. However, the loss that seems so small can have significant effects on your oral health and general health too. A missing tooth will affect the type of food that you eat, your speech, and at times, cause headaches and pain in the jaw bone. There are many options for replacing a single tooth, but dental implants are the best solution. Implants safeguard your bone structure and appearance hence a suitable choice for replacing lost teeth. At the Encino Dental Implant, we provide a dental implant for single tooth replacement to our clients. We have discussed implant-supported single tooth replacement to help you make an informed decision.

Single Tooth Replacement with a Dental Implant

When you lose one tooth, a single tooth implant is the best solution to the loss. The process often involves a small titanium post that is attached to the upper or lower jaw to support a crown. The titanium post is placed on the jawbone through surgery. The post fuses or integrates with the bone in a process known as Osseointegration. By the end of the process, the implant is secure and can hold the crown or cap just like the standard tooth root. After the implant is entirely safe, an abutment is connected to the implant. It acts as a link between the implant and the crown. A crown is then placed on the abutment, and the procedure of restoration is completed.

Remember that the procedure for single tooth replacement cannot take place where there is not enough bone in the jaw. It means that not everyone is a candidate for this dental procedure. If you prefer the treatment but unfortunately lack enough bone, bone grafting can help make the bone strong enough to hold the implant.

The Process of Placing the Implant

Single tooth replacement using an implant involves surgery. The recovery period depends on a lot of factors, which include the method used to place the implant. If you go the traditional implants, the process might last for five months if the tooth being replaced is in the lower jaw. If it’s in the upper jaw, the treatment can take half a year. In cases where bone grafting is required, the procedure might take up to twelve months.

If you opt for a much modern method of placing the implant, the whole treatment can be completed within a single visit to your dentist. In this method, however, mini implants will be used and not the traditional ones.

The traditional method of placing a single tooth implant involves two procedures. First, a small opening is made on the space left by the lost tooth. The cut or opening is built on the gum to enable the dentist to reach the jawbone. Once the bone is reached, a hole is then drilled in it, and the titanium post, also called an implant, is placed. Once the implant is placed, the opening made on the gum is sutured. The healing process after this first procedure will take two to three months. The duration taken is dependent on the state of your teeth. It will be wise to speak to your dentist about the diet you should stick to and the kind of meals to avoid making the process quick. In case the condition of your teeth is not right, your dentist will suggest placing a temporary tooth over the implant. By the end of the 2 or 3 months, the implant and the bone will have grown together to form a strong base for the single tooth replacement. 

After the implant and the bones have fused and healed, the second procedure commences. In this, another opening or cut is made to expose the implant. A healing cup is then attached to the top of the implant. The role of this cap is to allow the gum surrounding the teeth being replaced with healing. Within a few weeks, the gum is healed, and the cap is removed.

A connector called an abutment is then placed close to your gum line to act as a medium between the implant and the restoration. The abutment is screwed into the implant, and the crown is placed.

In mini implants, an implant, a connector, and the crown can be placed in a single appointment.

Initial Consultation

Before undergoing this treatment, you have to visit a prosthodontist for an initial consultation. If you can’t find or afford this specialist, you can opt for a general dentist as long as he or she has training in the restoration of implants.

In this first visit to your dental health practitioner, a thorough evaluation will be conducted to determine the state of your teeth. An excellent dentist will begin by reviewing your dental health history after he or she will take x-rays or perform a computer CT scan to examine your jawbone. The Purpose of the CT scan is to check if you have enough bone to hold the implant firmly. Also, the scan helps in checking the location of nerves to avoid them during surgery.

If it is discovered your bone is inadequate to hold the implant, you will discuss the available options to strengthen the bone. In most cases, you will have to choose between bone grafting or bone distraction. In grafting, a bone is taken from another place like your mouth, hip, or chin and added or attached to your jaw. Synthetic materials like calcium phosphate can also be used as a source for the bone. If you opt for bone distraction as a way of growing your bone, you should expect a surgical procedure to be conducted in the location where you need the bone. In this procedure, screws and pins are used to pull apart the existing bone, making it grow in the area where required.

Note that if you opt to grow your bone, the single tooth implant procedure might extend with an additional four to twelve months, which is the time it takes for the bone to be ready for an implant.

Types of Dental Implants for Single Tooth Replacement

Every patient is unique and has different needs. Because of this, if you are choosing to replace your single missing tooth using implants, you have two types to choose from. You can opt for:

1. Endosteal

If you opt for this type, you should expect screw-shaped titanium implants to be attached to your jawbone. Currently, they are the most popular types of implants.

2. Subperiosteal

Contrary to endosteal implants, these are placed on the gums and not directly to the bone. It is the best option for patients who have weak bones and don’t want to wait for the bone augmentation process to complete. If you lack enough bone to secure the implant, subperiosteal is the best option because the attachment is done on the gum.

Benefits of Dental Implants for Single Tooth Replacement

If you are still in doubt that implants are your solution to single tooth replacement, then you need to understand the benefits of this treatment procedure.

The first benefit is that implants can be placed without affecting the adjacent teeth, thus giving you a restored smile with no effect on the surrounding teeth. The dental implant acts and functions like the naturally occurring teeth, something alternative treatment options like fixed bridges cannot provide. If you opt for bridges, the adjacent teeth will be crushed down, something that implants avoid.

Also, because the implants replace the root of the lost tooth, the underlying bone is secured. This happens when the implant and the bone grow together to fuse and form a firm base to hold the crown.  With implants, you get the chance to maintain the original dental and bone structure that was there before you lost a tooth.  Remember, if you lose a tooth and wait for long without replacing it, the jaw begins to shrink. You can lose a quarter of your jaw bone within twelve months after tooth loss. Opting for implants, therefore, safeguards the bone structure and ensures an increase in jawbone density. On the other hand, if you choose bridges for single tooth replacement, some of the bone that previously surrounded the missing tooth will shrink something that doesn’t happen with implants.

Ease of cleaning and esthetics is another benefit of single tooth implants in the long run. It means the overall appearance when someone has an implant is better than having a bridge. The aesthetics of bridges is less compared to implants because, with bridges, the gum might retrocede exposing the collar, thus causing severe defects that eliminate or reduces the beauty you were aiming to achieve. A lot of people nowadays avoid bridges because of gum recedes that cause severe deficiencies.  

An implant is also self-supporting, which allows the tooth that has been replaced to maintain its natural shape. And because the implant is attached to the jawbone, a single tooth implant feels like the natural teeth. This is unlike traditional bridges where the abutment is modified, denying the replaced tooth a shape like that of other enamel. Also, because bridges aren’t attached to the bone, they don’t feel and function like natural teeth. You might be forced to avoid certain foods or habits if you choose bridge treatment. 

Furthermore, traditional bridges will require repairs or even replacement after an average of one hundred and twenty months. The reason being they are attached to either side of adjacent teeth, and if the bridge fails, the two teeth supporting it also fail, which further reduces their lifespan. Implants, on the other hand, if you maintain healthy oral hygiene, can last for a lifetime. The posts or implants are made of titanium, which makes them strong enough to withstand the force of chewing for decades. A single tooth dental implant can last for an average of three decades.

Alternatives for Dental Implant for Single Tooth Replacement

Apart from dental implants, there are many other ways of replacing a single missing tooth. Among these options of tooth replacement, dental implants are the best option because of their longevity and ability to function and feel like enamel. However, there is no single option that is right for everyone. It is up to your prosthodontist to conduct a thorough examination of your teeth using an x-ray and a CT scan to determine what option is best for you. Although at Encino Dental Implant, we will emphasize dental implants for single tooth replacement, there are alternative options that you can explore. These are:

Fixed Bridge

When you lose a tooth, a gap is left on your smile. A fixed bridge is a prosthetic that depends on the remaining teeth adjacent to the hole for support. Most bridges are made of crowns that sit on the enamel of either side of the gap. The crowns are then cemented into place, bridging the gap or restoring the lost dental structure. The procedure is an excellent alternative to implants because it is fast and cost-effective. However, the problem is that it involves grinding away the healthy enamel on either side of the gap being bridged so that crowns can be attached at the top. Also, the bridge doesn’t help in making the underlying jawbone healthier and stronger. If you opt for this procedure, it means with time, your natural bone will not be growing. Instead, it will shrink away and deteriorate, thus damaging your dental structure. Also, if you will be opting for bridges, be prepared for flossing problems. Without proper flossing of your teeth, with time, your overall oral hygiene will be affected, which will consequently result in tooth decay.

Removable Partial Dentures

These replace a single missing tooth with a tooth-like retainer made of metal and acrylic. Metal wires hugging adjacent healthy enamel are then used to hold the retainer in place. The shortcomings of this alternative of replacing a single tooth are that the metal wires used to hold the retainer in place can cause damage to your teeth in the long run. Furthermore, removable partial dentures need to be removed during the day after meals. The reason being food might be caught underneath the dentures, making it uncomfortable to eat. At night you are also required to soak the dentures inside a cleaning solution.

Also, it’s crucial to note that although they are not like fixed bridges that require grinding on the adjacent healthy enamel, they are not as stable or comfortable as implants. The type of restoration is also inexpensive compared to implant-supported single tooth replacement and often allows the natural bone to shrink away. With time as bone shrinks, the flawless smile and esthetics that you were willing to achieve will be lost because a shrinking jawbone will change your overall facial appearance. Compared to implants, removable partial dentures are not durable, and as time passes, they grow less comfortable.

Resin Retained Bridge

Compared to a fixed bridge, this is less invasive. It is used in most cases to replace a lost front tooth. It is the best option for front teeth because it is not built to withstand the pressure of chewing. This type of bridge has two wings that are attached to the teeth adjacent to either side of the gap. In this treatment, no grinding of the adjacent teeth is required. The appearance and functioning of the resin retained bridges are better than removable partial dentures and less costly. The problem is that it is not as strong and durable as dental implants.

Removable Complete Denture

These dentures are made of acrylic and are used to replace all the teeth you have lost in the same jaw. The problem with dentures is that they are a rare option for single tooth replacement. And just like removable partial dentures, they require frequent removing and cleaning. A lot of people find it tricky to adapt to dentures because they are uncomfortable and cause damage to both teeth and gums. With time, because they don’t stimulate the jawbone, it begins to shrink, thus adversely affecting your smile and appearance.

In general, when you compare all the options of single tooth replacement, you will realize the dental implants are the best options. Although they might seem costly initially, in the long run, they save you money, and you get to enjoy fresh, natural feeling and functioning teeth.

Dental Implant for Single Tooth Replacement Cost

The cost of getting these services is dependent on a lot of things. Your location, the type of implantation, the dentist performing the procedure are all crucial factors that should be considered. The amount of dental health insurance is another factor that will also determine the amount of money you will part after receiving these services. Among other single tooth replacement options, implants are the most expensive, but they are long-lasting. For every implant-supported single tooth replacement, you will part with between $3,000 to $4,500.

The money is a lot for replacing one tooth, but if you consider the benefits of this type of treatment, you won’t find other affordable options like fixed bridges and dentures. If you have dental insurance and your dentist accepts insurance payment, the cost of treatment will be considerably cheaper. But this should not mean that people who need single tooth replacement through implants and are not covered by their insurance policy for this type of treatment cannot be treated.

There are other plans you can pay for the treatment aside from insurance. CareCredit is one of the ways you can finance your treatment. In this plan, a third-party financing firm pays for your treatment then you develop long-lasting.

Also, it’s essential to understand that the first dentist or dental health center you come across is not the best. If you shop around, you might come across dentists who are offering quality dental implants at reasonable prices. Cost should not, however, be your guiding factor when picking a dentist. To ensure you are getting the best services, arrange an initial consultation with the dentists you are considering, then based on your experiences, you can pick the dentist who is best suited for the job.

Implant-Supported Single Tooth Replacement Candidacy

The treatment involves oral surgery, so make sure that you consult with a qualified dental practitioner to find out if you are eligible for the process or not. One thing you should know about implants is that they are not suitable for children or people undergoing adolescence. During this stage of life, jawbones are still growing. But after puberty, there is complete growth of bones, such that an implant can be done any time after this stage.

Other things the dentist might consider is if you have health conditions like cancer and diabetes. These might require additional and specialized treatment. After evaluation of the teeth, the other thing that counts most is your commitment to follow the instructions of the dentist during and after surgery. If you are a smoker, you might be requested to quit smoking because it increases the risk of failure. Oral hygiene is something else you should adhere to when you opt for dental implants; otherwise, it isn’t going to succeed.

Latest Procedural Strategies

Dental implant procedures have improved over the years as researchers try to make the process fast and effective. Today, dentists have begun placing implants in teeth that have been immediately extracted. If the strategy is successful, people who have been waiting for months because of Osseointegration will no longer wait for that long.

Find a Encino Dental Implant Dentist Near Me

If you have lost a tooth and feel that it has not affected you in any way, don’t get comfortable. Losing one tooth can have severe consequences that can change your appearance and smile ultimately. Encino Dental Implant is here to provide a dental implant for single tooth replacement. We understand that getting that single tooth replaced gives you the confidence to smile and restores the standard functioning of your teeth. Call us today at 818-810-7535 for any questions on a single tooth implant and to find out if you are a candidate for the treatment.