Are you missing one or more teeth? If so, you’re far from alone. It has been estimated that 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. A single tooth implant offers you the opportunity to replace a missing tooth with a permanent, fixed tooth that looks and functions exactly like a natural tooth. You’ll be able to care for your implant in the same way as you care for your other teeth.
Dental implants also enable you to preserve the long-term health of the adjacent teeth, so they don’t move, creating problems in the future. An implant is a major step toward restoring the healthy, natural smile – it doesn’t have to be lost forever. Dr. Donald Hillock, a cosmetic dentist who provides dental implants in Modesto, can help you understand the lasting difference that a single tooth implant could make in your quality of life.
Why Not A Dental Bridge?
In years past, a dental bridge was the only solution for replacing lost teeth. When performed by an experienced cosmetic dentist, this procedure can result in a natural-looking, long-lasting result.
However, there some aspects of bridges that may not be ideal for your long-term dental health.
- Healthy teeth are damaged: To stay in place, a bridge must be attached to adjacent, healthy teeth. Before it is attached, those teeth are filed or shaved, and lose some quantity of the natural tooth structure.
- Decay: The adjacent teeth that are filed can decay, possibly even leading to the need for a root canal on a tooth that had previously been healthy.
- Bone and gum loss: The area under the bridge, where the missing tooth used to be can experience bone and gum loss over time. This can possibly detract from the appearance of the area around the bridge.
- Cleaning: Special attention is needed in order to do a good job of cleaning around a bridge.
How Are Implants Attached?
Placing an implant is a two-step process. If you are considering an implant, it’s vital that you speak with us at Hillock Family Dental, where we have considerable experience with implants.
The first surgery is done to create a “root” that will hold your replacement tooth in place, just as the roots in your natural teeth do. This is accomplished by placing a titanium post in your jaw.
Before anything further can be done, the post must fuse with your jawbone, a process known as “osseointegration.” This requires three to six months.
Once your surgeon has determined that the healing process is complete, a tooth restoration is created that matches your existing teeth is attached to the post. This “tooth,” known as a crown, is usually made of porcelain that has been fused to metal alloy. I can also be solid porcelain or even solid metal.
Can Anyone Receive A Single Tooth Implant?
Implant placement requires minor gum surgery, and you will not be a candidate for a single tooth implant if you have a health issue that would disqualify you from any other form of surgery.
Even if you are in good general health, there can be other reasons why you may not be eligible to receive an implant, including:
- You are a smoker
- You grind or clench your teeth
- You suffer from osteoporosis and are taking drugs to treat it
- You have suffered enough bone loss in your jaw that the post will not be able to fuse well enough to support a replacement tooth
Your Next Step
Electing to undergo an implant procedure is a big decision, and you need to understand exactly what to expect in your specific case, including both medical and financial issues.
It’s not likely that your insurance will cover the cost of an implant, but the staff at Hillock Family Dental can help you find financing if you decide that a single tooth implant is the best option for your long-term dental health.
We look forward to the opportunity to answer all your questions and ease any concerns you might have about this procedure. Implants have come a long way since first introduced, and we offer safe, advanced techniques to help you resolve a missing tooth with an implant that looks and feels natural in every way.