Single-Tooth Implants

When an individual has lost a tooth due to decay or trauma, there are several procedures to fill in the space created by the missing tooth.  One way to do so is a procedure known as a single-tooth implant.

There can be complications from an implant. Though rare, an implant can fail if infection develops. To find out if an implant is a viable option to replace a missing tooth, a visit with your dentist will be required. Your dentist will do a comprehensive examination, which includes reviewing your medical and dental history, taking X-rays, and in some cases, ordering a CT scan of your mouth to not only make sure you have enough jawbone to hold an implant in place, but to determine the location of nerves and sinuses so they can be avoided during surgery.

The implant process can be quite lengthy and normally takes any where from five to six months.  However, if the dentist needs to augment the bone in the jaw, the process can take up to a year.

In a traditional tooth implant procedure, a dentist will make an incision in the gum where the implant will be placed.  He then drills a hole into the bone, places the implant in the hole, and closes the incision in the gum with stitches.

After a healing period of three to six months – the time it takes for the bone and implant to fuse – the dentist will make sure the implant has fused by taking an X-ray.  If the implant has fused to the jaw, then an incision in the gum to expose the implant will be made and a  a collar known as a healing abutment will be screwed onto the top of the implant.  This abutment not only supports the crown, but helps the gums heal correctly by holding them away from the head of the implant.

After a healing period of ten to fourteen days, the stitches and collar are removed, final impressions are made, a dental technician will make the temporary and final crowns, and the temporary crown will be placed on the implant.  This crown will be in place for  a period of four to six weeks, the time it takes for your gums to heal around the implant.

The permanent crown, which looks just like your natural teeth, will either be screwed or cemented on the abutment.  An implanted tooth needs care just like a natural tooth.  Brushing and flossing daily, as well as visiting your dentist for a checkup every six months is required to keep your implanted tooth as well as your natural teeth in great shape.

Original article found here.