The loss of a single tooth can be devastating to your smile’s appearance and function. Patients have a number of options for tooth replacement to restore the aesthetics and functionality of the smile, so it’s important to do your research to determine which choice will be best for you.
Dental implants offer the most structurally complete tooth replacement device available to patients. These small cylinders are made of titanium, so the surrounding bone is able to form a strong bond with them. That osseointegration process makes the dental implant a substitute for the absent tooth’s root. Dental implants can then support a single crown or a bridge or denture, depending on the patient’s needs.
An oral surgery procedure is necessary for dental implant placement. In the several months following that procedure, the osseointegration process is completed. Patients can often be fitted with a temporary prosthetic at the time the dental implant and then get a stronger, permanent restoration after they have healed fully from the placement procedure.
The dental implant placement procedure is an outpatient oral surgery. It is completed in the surgeon’s office and typically takes a few hours. Barring any unexpected complications, patients can resume almost all normal activity within a day or two. Strenuous jobs or vigorous exercise activity may need to be postponed a bit longer. Your surgeon will give you guidance on this aspect of post-operative care.
Another option for single tooth replacement is a conventional dental bridge. This treatment method has no root-like structure under the gumline, so it is considerably less stable over time than a dental implant. A bridge also tends to be less effective at chewing than an implant because it cannot withstand strong chewing forces like a natural tooth anchored in the jaw can. Dental bridges do not require oral surgery, but they do necessitate the removal of healthy enamel on adjacent teeth for placement of the crowns that support the pontic (artificial tooth).
Dental implants can be a good choice for a single tooth replacement. If you are interested in exploring this treatment option, schedule an initial consultation at our office, Central Oklahoma Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates.