Dental implants are arguably the most significant advancement in dentistry in the last century. When combined with crowns and bridges, they may be the closest thing to natural teeth we can achieve right now.
One of the many advantages dental implants offer is their versatility. Implants can replace multiple teeth or a single tooth, depending on what you need.
What Are Implants?
A single-tooth dental implant is a standalone replacement that consists of a titanium screw and a dental crown. Unlike traditional bridges, which rely on adjacent teeth for support, a single-tooth implant is anchored into the jawbone. Dental implants consist of 3 parts:
- A titanium screw
- An artificial tooth, also called a crown
- An abutment, which is used to attach the crown to the implant
The Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants can look and feel like natural teeth, matching your surrounding teeth’ colour, size, and shape. But their benefits extend beyond cosmetics. They can support your ability to chew, speak, and laugh comfortably. By filling that gap, implants can prevent teeth from shifting and stimulate jawbone growth.
Because dental implants are set into the jawbone, they’re more stable than other tooth replacement options. You can even brush and floss your implants like natural teeth. Implants are designed to be permanent and could last a lifetime. You’ll only need to replace the crown attached to the implant, and with proper care, a crown can last up to 10 years.
When it comes down to it, one of the most significant benefits of dental implants is simply how successful they are. Dental implants have a high success rate of more than 97% over 10 years. It can be a solid investment for your future dental health.
Will an Implant Work for Me?
Before getting a dental implant, your dentist or oral surgeon will perform a comprehensive exam to evaluate if you’re a good candidate for the procedure. This can include physical examinations, X-rays, and open discussions about your current health. Factors dentists may look for include:
- Healthy gums
- Good overall health
- Enough jaw bone to support the implant
Your jaw needs to be strong enough to support the implant, or there’s a higher chance of implant failure. A bone graft may be able to help people with bone loss safely hold an implant, but determining that is part of the evaluation. This can take time, but this time is essential for a successful implant surgery.
The Dental Implant Surgery
Even for a single tooth, dental implants can take 3–9 months and multiple appointments from consultation to the end of recovery. If your dentist decides you’re a suitable candidate and you agree dental implants are the way forward, the process can begin.
The Implant Placement Procedure
The next step in the process is the actual implant placement. This procedure is sometimes done under anesthesia, so you’ll be sedated, and your surgeon can help you feel comfortable. They’ll start by making an incision in the gum tissue to expose the jawbone.
They will then drill a hole into the bone and place the implant into the hole. The implant is made of titanium, which is biocompatible and fuses with the jawbone to provide a stable foundation for the artificial tooth. After the implant is placed, it will be allowed to heal.
During a second appointment, if that is needed, your surgeon will attach the abutment to the implant. This is where the crown will connect to the implant. With the implant set, you’ll be given time to heal again as your crown is made.
The Healing Process
The healing process is an essential part of the implant procedure. It can take 2–6 months for the implant to fuse with the jawbone, a process called osseointegration. During this period, the implant should not be disturbed, so you will need to eat soft foods and avoid anything hard or crunchy that may damage the implant.
During this time, there will be follow-up appointments, so your dental team can monitor the healing process and help everything go as planned.
The Placement of the Artificial Tooth
After the implant has fused with the jawbone, your dentist can attach the artificial tooth. For a single tooth, this would be a crown. However, that’s not the only option. An implant or even a pair of implants can support a fixed bridge, allowing your dentist to replace multiple teeth at once. It could take a few more appointments to ensure it fits in line with the rest of your teeth.
Caring for Your Implant
After surgery, you may notice some bruising, swelling, minor bleeding, or general pain around the implant. This is normal for oral surgery, and you can usually manage it with pain medication if your dentist recommends it.
If the pain gets worse, contact your dentist immediately for a check-up.
Like natural teeth, dental implants require care and maintenance to help them last. You can treat them like any natural tooth, so continue to brush twice a day, floss daily, and use mouthwash to help clear out bacteria.
Friendly Smiles in Ottawa
No matter how you lost your tooth, dental implants can be an incredible option for tooth replacement. You can get a single tooth implant to fill in a gap and enjoy the immense benefits it has to offer.
Dr. Jaleel and the entire Fairlawn Dental Centre team are ready to help you achieve your oral health goals. Whether implants or a bridge, we’re open to discussing your options. Book an exam, and let’s discover if you’re a candidate for dental implants.