Single Tooth Implant
Why are dental implants important?
Missing a tooth isn’t just bad for your looks; it can be bad for your health as well! Healthy teeth play an important role in the body from head to toe. When you are missing one, your jawbone deteriorates, your face thins with time and your self- esteem and diet suffer, all of which negatively affect the health of your entire body. Dental implants look, feel and function just like natural teeth and are widely recognized as the best replacement method.
How Dental Implants Work
Our bodies are truly amazing, considering their ability to coexist with a variety of native and foreign materials. “Osseointegration” refers to the fusing of bone with an artificial material. It was discovered back in the 1940s and 50s, when Swedish physician Per-Ingvar Branemark observed that titanium fuses so well with bone that it is nearly impossible to remove. Since then, the biocompatibility of titanium has proven itself to be amazingly reliable over and over again.
What is a single tooth implant?
An implant includes three pieces: the implant itself (a titanium screw that is placed within the jawbone), the abutment (a connector between the implant and crown) and the crown(the part that is visible and looks like a tooth). Dr. Zakaria will place the implant and the abutment, but the crown will be completed by your general dentist.
Time is of the Essence
You may be surprised to hear that your jawbone is a lot like a muscle, in that it must be stimulated regularly in order to maintain its mass. Therefore, when a tooth is extracted (or falls out naturally), the jawbone begins to deteriorate almost immediately. In fact, studies show that within a year of tooth loss, there is a 25% decrease in bone width. Thankfully, dental implants can take the place of natural teeth to provide the stimulus needed by the jaw. If done early, the need for bone grafting down the road is greatly reduced.
How much does a single tooth implant cost?
While the upfront cost of a dental implant is usually more expensive than other alternatives, such as bridges and dentures, dental implants outlast those approaches by several decades. This increased longevity makes implants the more affordable choice in the long run. For further information, visit our dental implants cost page.
Dental Implants: The Process
- Consultation and Treatment Plan: During the initial phase of the dental implant process, imaging is gathered along with your medical and dental histories to give us a clear picture of your current health. We will then explore your treatment options with you to formulate a plan that ensures that both your health goals and budgetary needs are met.
- Extraction: If applicable, the next step is to have the tooth in question extracted. In some cases, we may be able to place the implant at the same time of extraction. In others, bone grafting will be required prior to implant placement (see next step).
- Bone Grafting: It is fairly common for the jawbone to lack the mass needed to accept an implant. In this case, a bone graft will be performed to strengthen the target area. Bone grafting is typically followed by several months of healing before the implant can be placed.
- Dental Implant Surgery: During the procedure itself, a titanium screw is inserted into your jawbone. You will be anesthetized for comfort during the surgery, which takes about 1-2 hours.
- Osseointegration: After placing the implant, we cover it with the surrounding soft tissue and let it sit for 3-4 months so that it can fuse with the bone.
- Final Restoration: After osseointegration is complete, an abutment is placed within the implant in order to connect it with the final crown restoration. Typically, the final restoration is done by a general dentist.