Dental Implants for a Single Tooth
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a small titanium screw or post that serves as the root component for a prosthetic tooth. Most single tooth implant restorations consist of three parts:
||Post: The implant screw, also known as the post, is the part that is surgically placed into your jaw.
||Abutment: The abutment is a support structure that links the implant screw to the dental crown.
||Restoration: The restoration (like a dental crown)
What are the Types of Crown Materials?
Most dental crowns these days are fabricated using ceramic materials, such as porcelain of zirconia. These materials can be molded to match the texture and shape of a natural tooth. Once polished, they also scatter light in the same manner as natural enamel. For these reasons and more, porcelain and zirconia are the ideal materials implant-supported restorations.
Why Should I Replace a Missing Tooth?
Losing a tooth in itself is a major detriment to your oral health. There are also several complications that can occur if you do not replace a missing tooth. For instance, the remaining teeth in your mouth may compensate for the open space. This can cause them to shift out their proper position, leading to misalignments in your bite. When you lose a tooth, you also lose the physical stimulation your jawbone needs to remain healthy. This can cause the bone to deteriorate over time. An implant screw can supplement physical stimulation and protect your bone structure from deterioration.
How Does a Dental Implant Work?
The dental implant procedure has a success rate upwards of 95 percent. This is largely because the implant and your jawbone fuse while you heal from surgery. This process, known as osseointegration, allows the implant screw to support a dental crown in the same manner a root system supports a tooth. In many ways, an implant-supported dental crown is the next best thing to your natural tooth. Your restoration will look, feel, and function just like any other tooth.
What if I Don't Have Enough Bone Mass?
Implants require an adequate quantity and quality of bone to be successful. Bone that is too thin or too soft may not properly integrate with the implant screw. If this is the case for you, we may recommend a bone graft. During the bone graft procedure, we place a small amount of grafting material over the affected bone. The graft material is meant to foster new, healthy bone growth. Grafting material can come from another bone rich area of your body, a human donor, an animal donor, or a laboratory that produces synthetic materials. Once your new bone growth is complete, we can proceed with implant treatment.
Does My Insurance Cover a Dental Implant?
Until fairly recently, most insurance companies did not provide coverage for dental implant treatment. This day more and more insurance companies are offering partial coverage of the procedure. For instances, they may cover the cost up to that of a more traditional restoration. Talk with your insurance company to find out about your coverage policy.
How Much Does a Dental Implant Cost?
The cost of a dental implant can vary, depending on the type of implant, restoration materials, and your circumstance. While the cost may seem steep at first, implants can end up saving you money. Most implants will last for several decades without the need for replacement. With the proper care and maintenance, an implant can even last a lifetime. Other tooth replacement alternatives are much more precarious. Restorations like bridges and partial dentures may need frequent repairs, adjustments, or replacements. These costs can add up over time.
What is the Dental Implant Process?
||Implant Consultation: The dental implant process begins with a consultation appointment. Your consultation typically includes a comprehensive exam, x-rays 3D imaging. Once we determine you are a suitable candidate for implant treatment, we can schedule your first surgery. The implant procedure is usually broken down into two minor surgeries: one to place the implant and one to place the abutment.
||Post Placement: During the first surgery, we will first use a local anesthetic to numb the tissue. Next, we make a small incision in the gums to expose the underlying bone. We then make a small hole in the bone so that we can deeply embed the implant screw. Once the implant is in place, we will suture the incision.
||Abutment Placement: For the next several months, the implant and your jawbone will undergo the process of osseointegration. Once osseointegration is complete, we can schedule your second surgery and place the abutment. After the abutment is in place, we use a healing collar to guide your gum tissue. When your tissues are fully healed, we will take an impression of the area and send it to our dental laboratory.
||Crown Fabrication: At the laboratory, our dental technicians will use the impression to fabricate your final dental crown. This process can take several weeks to complete. In the meantime, we may give you a temporary restoration to protect the implant site and restore your ability to chew.
||Crown Placement: Once your final crown is complete, we will remove the temporary and permanently attach it to the abutment. The entire implant process can take anywhere from six months to over a year, but the results are well worth it!
What are the Alternatives to Dental Implants?
There are two major alternatives to single-tooth implant: traditional bridges and partial dentures.
||Dental Bridges: A traditional dental bridge consists of two dental crowns that link to a pontic, or false tooth, to fill the gap created by a missing tooth. We must reshape the surrounding teeth to accommodate each crown. A partial denture is a removable appliance that typically consists of a prosthetic tooth and a retainer.
||Dental Dentures: Both traditional dental dentures and partial dentures can lead to future complications with surrounding teeth. The partial denture may also use metal clasps that attach to the surrounding teeth. They also do nothing to help protect the underlying bone. If you are in need of a tooth replacement, we highly recommend dental implants. Implants have become the industry standard for tooth replacement!
Schedule Your Consultation Appointment
Find out if dental implants are right for you! Call (516) 274-9979 to schedule your consultation appointment today.