Do you suffer from a missing tooth? There are thousands of patients in the US that have congenitally missing teeth and millions more with missing teeth due to decay, gum disease, or trauma. The functional and esthetic needs of individuals with missing teeth can be met by the placement of single-tooth implants.
Why Choose an Implant vs. Fixed Porcelain Bridge?
Traditionally, Dentists would replace a single missing tooth with a 3 unit "bridge" that was permanently cemented onto two adjacent teeth. Unfortunately, this procedure sacrifices the adjacent tooth structure to make room for the metal/porcelain superstructure. Also, 50% of dental bridges last 10 years. This means that half only last 10 years due to fracture, recurrent decay, or periodontal problems.
The dentistry of today offers dental implants as an option to fill the space and replace the missing tooth. We are able to conserve all of the tooth structure on the adjacent teeth when the implant is placed in the missing space. Implants and their implant crowns have a much higher success rate then traditional fixed bridges - success rates of up-to 95% for most cases.
Untreated tooth loss often leads to several more complex conditions such as altered soft tissue contour, bone resorption and changes in speech patterns. Teeth behind the missing space will tilt forward, closing the bite, and the teeth will become off angled. Teeth below will super-erupt into the space. All of these are not good for the individual wanting long term oral health. Missing teeth can lead to overloading or creating an additional stress on adjacent dentition leading to fractures and premature tooth loss of otherwise healthy teeth. It is beneficial to have the missing teeth replaced and ensure proper oral functions. The advantages include the following:
- Strong foundation for tooth replacement.
- Improved esthetics.
- Improved self-confidence.
- Improved comfort when eating and speaking.
- Retention of the surrounding bone.
- Reduced gingival discrepancies.
- Easy maintenance.
- Restored oral functions.
Initial consultation with Dr. Damon is needed to discuss expectations if any additional treatment like bone grafting or orthodontics is required. Dr. Damon and his team will take a full set of digital radiographs including Panoramic x-ray or CBCT, (digital 3-D Cone Beam) and study models. We will discuss all aspects of the surgery and determine if the patient will require IV sedation or just local anesthesia.
Once the proper treatment planning has been achieved, the surgery will be scheduled. Typically most single unit implant surgeries are done in under an hour. You will be able to go to work the next day with instructions to execute extra care and perform daily oral routine to ensure positive oral flora and avoid any possibility of infections.
The implant is allowed to fuse to the bone for 4-6 months and the patient is brought back into the office for exposure of the implant head and a final torque check. This is important so that if early failure exists, it will be detected, and proper treatment to be commenced. If all is well, a healing abutment is placed and the gum begins to form over the next 3 weeks. Then a final impression is taken which will be sent to the lab so the abutment and crown can be made.
The Final Results
The healing process typically takes several months. Once it is completed, the permanent restoration is fabricated and placed over the implant. Dr. Damon will choose the best type of restoration for your implant. Commonly in the anterior esthetic zone he will place a custom zirconia abutment with a LAVA all ceramic crown. Posterior regions where the load increases, we usually place titanium abutments with full zirconia implant crowns. The functionality and overall esthetics of the smile are always addressed when deciding on the type of implants and final restorations.
When considering single-tooth implants, our patients are encouraged to ask detailed questions and become educated about the entire process. Most patients are candidates and can improve their smile and functionality of the mouth with minimal discomfort during the treatment. Contact Texas Denture Clinic today to schedule your initial evaluation and find out if you qualify for implant therapy.