Single Tooth Implant – What You Need to Know

If you are missing a single tooth, an implant-based solution might be right for you. A single dental implant is a screw-shaped piece of titanium that heals and bonds with the jawbone permanently, creating an artificial tooth root for the crown.

The procedure can be a little uncomfortable, but it’s worth it in the long run. Dental implants offer a natural-looking restoration that is super easy to care for.

What is a Dental Implant?

A single tooth implant is a restoration that replaces the entire missing tooth from root to crown. This sophisticated treatment is widely regarded as the gold standard for replacing missing teeth and provides a natural-looking, feeling replacement tooth.

When a tooth is lost, surrounding teeth will drift out of place, affecting their stability and bite, while the bone that was around the original tooth will begin to dissolve (resorb). A single tooth implant stops this process from happening by providing a strong, stable foundation for your new dental restoration.

Before the procedure begins, your dentist will review your medical history and conduct a thorough exam. He or she will also take X-rays and 3D images, as well as models of your jaw and teeth. It’s important to tell your dentist if you are a heavy smoker or have a chronic health condition that could interfere with healing.

After the implantation surgery, you’ll need to wait for four to 12 months for the implant site to heal completely. During this time, you should avoid putting pressure on the area, which includes not chewing on that side of your mouth and not using straws.

How Does a Dental Implant Work?

Dental implants are surgically placed in the jawbone, replacing a missing tooth. They are anchored by a metal screw-like post, which is left to meld with the bone through a process known as osseointegration. Once the implant site heals, a connector (called an abutment) is attached to the post and a replacement tooth — individual or grouped in a bridge or denture — is built based on impressions taken from your bite.

The procedure is performed in a dentist’s office under local anesthesia. Most patients report mild soreness that can be treated with over-the-counter painkillers.

During your initial examination, X-rays and digital scanning technology will be used to assess your oral health and determine if your jawbone has sufficient density to support the implant. If not, a bone graft or sinus lift may be needed to build up tissue. Once the abutment and restoration are in place, your new single tooth will look, feel, and function like a natural tooth. As with real teeth, dental implants need to be properly cared for, including regular brushing and flossing, rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash, and routine visits to the dentist.

How Long Does a Dental Implant Take?

If you’re missing one or more teeth, dental implants will help restore your smile and prevent other problems. The first step is a comprehensive exam to check that your gum and jaw health is good enough for implants. This may include x-rays and 3D scans.

Then your dentist will drill a hole into the bone and put in the implant. It will then need to fuse with the bone, a process known as osseointegration. This can take months.

Some patients will need a bone graft to make the jaw thick enough for an implant. This is usually done if the tooth being replaced is a molar with multiple roots. If this is the case we’ll normally do a bone graft at the time we remove the tooth, rather than as a separate procedure.

This will reduce the overall healing time. The surgery itself is not particularly painful, and most patients will be able to manage any discomfort with an over-the-counter painkiller like Ibuprofen. Once the healing is complete, your new single tooth implant will look and feel like your natural teeth.

How Does a Dental Implant Look?

Dental implants are a safe, durable and natural-looking tooth replacement. They look just like your neighbouring teeth and can last a lifetime if properly cared for. The implant itself is a titanium-based screw, which physically integrates into your jaw bone. A connector known as an abutment then connects the implant to the crown, which is made from porcelain and resembles your teeth.

Modern dental implants are one of the most advanced replacements for missing teeth, and can offer you a complete set of natural-looking and functioning teeth. They are stronger and more stable than traditional dentures or dental bridges, and can be used to replace a single missing tooth or multiple lost teeth in your mouth.

Getting an implant is a multi-step process that requires some patience as your body heals. Make sure to avoid smoking and other unhealthy habits that can affect healing and osseointegration, and keep up with your oral hygiene routine to prevent infection. You can also eat a healthy diet rich in calcium and other nutrients to support your teeth, gums and jaw bones.

How Can I Get a Dental Implant?

A single tooth implant is an ideal option for patients who are missing a single tooth and want a permanent teeth restoration solution that’s more reliable than a dental bridge or dental flipper. Dental implants keep existing teeth from shifting out of place and help to maintain bone density in the jaw by sharing the pressure created when eating and chewing food.

The implant procedure is relatively minor and can be done under local anesthesia. Your dentist will explain the entire process and your bespoke treatment plan during your consultation.

Once the implant site has healed, a small connector post called an abutment is screwed into the implant and a replacement tooth or teeth are fabricated based on impressions and models of your bite. These can be fixed or removable and are either cemented or screwed onto the abutment. As with all dental care, daily brushing and flossing are important to prevent plaque build-up that can damage the new tooth or cause infection. Similarly, avoiding grinding or clenching your teeth will help prevent these habits from damaging the implant and wearing away at the surrounding natural teeth.