A patient with a missing tooth has alternatives when it comes to replacing it. A fixed permanent bridge, dental implants, or even an orthodontic intervention to close the gap are all possibilities.
For years, fixed permanent bridges were the standard tooth replacement solution. These devices place a prosthetic tooth in the gap left behind, and that prosthetic tooth is anchored by dental crowns placed on adjacent teeth. This approach does require that healthy tooth enamel be sacrificed to accommodate the crown, and only the visible portion of the tooth is replaced.
Dental implants improved upon the fixed permanent bridge. The titanium screws fuse with the bone to replicate a missing tooth’s root. Then the implant is topped with a lifelike artificial crown. There is no impact on adjoining teeth, and dental implants look almost identical to their biological neighbors.
After the planning process is complete, an oral surgeon can place dental implants in an outpatient procedure that takes just a few hours. Patients can be fitted with temporary crowns to eliminate the gap in the smile as the dental implants fuse with the bone.
When a single tooth is absent, the patient will have functional and aesthetic concerns. This is where dental implants outshine their peers. Because the dental implant restores the entire tooth structure, not merely the visible portion, the device preserves the tooth’s utility.
The dental implant’s root-like structure stabilizes the jawbone, which will wear away in the absence of the tooth’s root. This is one of the most important dental implant roles, as bone loss can lead to the loss of neighboring teeth when less jawbone material is available to support them.
Dental implant wearers don’t have to change their diets or their oral hygiene routines for the devices, either.
When considering dental implants, it’s important to visit an oral surgeon early in the process to be sure that these devices are appropriate for your case.
Patients who already have extensive bone loss may need to undergo a procedure like a bone graft or sinus augmentation prior to dental implant placement to ensure that enough bone is available to sustain the implant.
Contact our experienced team at Northern Texas Facial & Oral Surgery in Keller TX for a dental implant consultation if you need to replace a single missing tooth.