Dentistry today is vastly different due to increases in oral health research and technology, and dental implants is one of the leading services dentists are able to provide today for their patients. Implants are many times a viable option as to afford a long term replacement and viable solution to missing teeth.
Today, let's go over the single tooth dental implant, which is also known as an endosseous implant or dental fixture.
WHAT IS A DENTAL IMPLANT?A dental implant is a component that is surgically placed within the jaw bone, which in turn supports a prosthesis (ie. dental porcelain crown, bridge, or denture). Via a biological process called ooseointegration, the implant fixture (typically made from titanium), forms an intimate bond to the bone. At this point the dental surgeon would also determine if a bone graft is required. If there is insufficient bone structure to hold the implant firmly in place, additional bone may need to be be added to the implant site via a bone graft. If the implant area is in an area of esthetic importance (ie. front tooth with an exposed smile line) the dentist may elected to add additional gingival tissue to improve the appearance of the implant fixture via a soft tissue graft.
After the implant is placed, the implant fixture is given time to heal and integrate with the bone, usually for 3-6 months. Once the implant osseointegrates with the bone, an abutment is attached to the implant which contains and hold the dental prosthetic (ie. crown, bridge, or denture). The dental prosthetic may then be attached to the abutment and implant via cement or screw..
WHEN IS A SINGLE TOOTH IMPLANT INDICATED?There are situations when a single implant may be desirable:
- Accidental trauma to a single tooth, while the teeth adjacent to the affected area are normal and healthy. An example would the loss of a front tooth due to an accident.
- A tooth has cracked from heavy occlusal trauma (bruxism and nighttime grinding) and is not saveable with a root canal and/or dental crown.
- A tooth that has such severe decay it is no longer restorable with a root canal and crown.
- A tooth with an existing filling or crown that has such deep and severe decay it is not longer saveable with a new restoration.
- A tooth that has luxated (tooth fell out of its socket) from a sports or playground accident, or physical altercation.
- A tooth has cracked and sustained a fracture after a root canal from normal chewing, and the tooth is no longer saveable and requires tooth extraction.
- A tooth that has severe localized periodontal disease with aggressive bone loss. With such periodontal involvement and bone loss, the tooth may be mobile and have poor bone support and susceptible to infection.
- One particular area of the jaw has an inherent missing tooth. For example, some people are genetically born with a single missing adult tooth, and this may cause difficulty chewing, self awareness in their smile, or food-induced gum trauma and irritation.
AM I CANDIDATE FOR A SINGLE TOOTH IMPLANT?The dentist and surgeon would determine if you are a viable candidate for a single tooth dental implant. A successful implant would require healthy jaw bone and gingiva. Oral hygiene, diabetes, smoking, a compromised immune system, and heavy uncontrolled bruxism/grinding are important factors to take into consideration of the implant's success. Age may be a factor; one may want to wait until the age of 20 as that is when the jaw bone has completed its full maturation growth cycle.
COST OF DENTAL IMPLANTSWhat does a dental implant cost? The costs of the implant from start to finish will vary widely and dependent on many factors. These factors include: type of material used, state where the service is performed, the type of insurance coverage, if a bone graft is required, the type of abutment used, and the type of crown that is placed. The dentist's front office would be able to give you an estimate of the costs associated with the dental implant.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding dental implants, the steps involved, and the costs involved, please consult with your family dentist.
From your gentle family dentist in Bellevue,
Dr. Peter Chien