Losing a tooth can be distressing, especially when it’s one of the prominent front teeth. A gappy smile may look cute on a child but an adult with a missing tooth doesn’t quite have the same appeal.
Apart from the appearance, replacing a missing or damaged tooth is important to your long-term dental health as a result of changes in the bite that may otherwise occur to compensate for the lost tooth. Fortunately modern day dentistry offers several tooth replacement solutions in the treatment for missing teeth.
Single Tooth Implant
The most reliable permanent replacement for a single missing tooth is often a dental implant with a ceramic crown. This treatment is aimed to look, feel and function just like a natural tooth. The additional benefit of an implant is that surrounding healthy teeth remain intact, it helps to preserve the jawbone and stabilize the bite.
Course Of Dental Implant Treatment
This procedure normally includes four visits to our dental clinic and will require examination and x-rays of your teeth to determine your suitability for implant treatment. One of our implantologists will advise you on your options, given your specific condition and individual needs.
Visit 1: Examination & X-Rays
An Implant Dentist will perform a limited examination of your mouth, gums, teeth and jaw and take one or more x-rays to assess the amount of bone available specifically for implantation, and other variants, so as to determine the exact placement of the tooth implant. During this appointment, the dentist will advise you of your suitability for dental implant treatment and also discuss alternative treatment possibilities that may help improve appearance, function or overall dental health. We might need you to see one of our other dentists to ascertain the health of your other teeth or to further explore alternatives. Subsequently, a treatment and cost plan is prepared and given to you for consideration. Appointment Duration: 15-30 minutes
Visit 2: Installing the Dental Implant
Under local anesthetic or under sedation, your Implantologist will perform the surgery to insert the tooth implant in the jawbone under the gum. Once in place, a healing screw is inserted to cover the implant while it heals. You can expect to be able to work the day after having a single implant inserted, but we need to allow approximately 3 months for the implant to bond with the bone. During the healing process, a temporary solution may be provided, to reduce the impact on your function and appearance. In some cases it is possible to place an immediate temporary crown attached to the implant at the same surgical visit. Appointment Duration: 30-60 minutes
Visit 3: Impressions and Final Aesthetics
After the 3 months healing period and confirmation that the implant has successfully bonded with the bone, the temporary tooth or the healing screw is removed and an impression is taken to make the final crown that fits over the implant. At this stage your implantologist and his ceramics technician confirm the aesthetic needs to help ensure that the shape and color of your new tooth appears natural, is an exact fit and meets your expectations. In some cases an additional ‘try-in’ appointment may be required to fine-tune the final aesthetics. Appointment Duration: 30 minutes
The final step is to permanently secure the new implant crown. We aim to restore function and aesthetics to make your new tooth look and feel like a natural tooth. Caring for the implant crown involves the same daily oral hygiene process as for natural teeth, including regular brushing and flossing. Appointment Duration: 30 minutes
Alternatives to Dental Implants
The Centre for Aesthetic & Implant Dentistry recognise that dental implants may not be suitable for every patient. We also offer the following alternative tooth replacement solutions.
Tooth-supported fixed bridge
Tooth supported fixed bridge is a traditional method for the treatment of a missing tooth or teeth. It involves grinding down adjacent teeth to support the bridge. It’s a stable solution with good aesthetics and function and does not require any surgery. However fixed bridgework has two main disadvantages: Grinding and removing valuable tooth structure of perfectly healthy teeth weakens them and places more loading stress on them to support the bridge. Also bone resorption is a common problem in the area of the missing tooth or teeth.
Removable partial denture
Although not a permanent fixed solution this option is the most economical and can provide a satisfactory result. The removable partial denture is made of plastic and doesn’t have the same aesthetic as a ceramic crown. It is secured to the remaining teeth with clasps or retainers, which can affect both, function and comfort. The main benefits are there’s no surgery involved, it’s economical, quick and easy to install. Disadvantages are: denture is not permanently fixed, lack of bone stimulation causes bone resorption, speech may be impaired and may not be aesthetically satisfactory.