Single Tooth Implant FAQ
St. George, UT
Here we answer some frequently asked questions about dental implants for those who want to know more about their upcoming dental procedure.
Do I Have to Go Without a Tooth Through the Healing Time?
In most cases we are able to place a temporary tooth on the implant at the time of placement. This approach provides several important advantages. First, in the visible smile area, placing a temporary tooth immediately on the implant maintains your natural smile through the healing phase. Also by placing a carefully constructed temporary we are able to provide the needed support for the surrounding bone and gum tissue and that’s avoid the resorption or shrinkage of these tissues. Our goal is to support these important structures in a way that your normal aesthetic shape remains unchanged. Because of this attention to minute detail, the final crown is generally indistinguishable from your natural healthy tooth.
For molars, temporaries are generally not placed because these teeth are not in an aesthetic position. It is also very important that the implants not be used for chewing during the healing time. Although temporaries that are not attached to the implant are possible to replace molars, they are generally not needed or desired by most patients.
What Is A Dental Implant?
There are three parts to a dental implant: The Implant (the screw), Crown (the part that looks like the tooth) and the Abutment (The part that connects the implant to the crown). A dental implant is a permanent placeholder for a natural tooth. When a tooth is dead or dying, it is extracted and replaced with a bio-friendly screw called an implant, by an oral surgeon. The implant resumes the same function as a natural tooth, stimulating the bone and preventing the bone from shrinking. If the tooth is in the aesthetic zone, a temporary abutment is placed, along with a temporary crown. If the tooth is outside of the aesthetic zone, a healing cap is placed into the implant to let the site heal, while also encouraging you not to chew in that area while it heals. When the healing is complete, a permanent abutment and crown are placed on your implant, and the process is complete.
Who Needs A Dental Implant?
Your dentist typically is the first to inform you if you are a candidate for dental implants. Typically, a good candidate for dental implants is anyone with a dead or dying tooth, or anyone with one or more missing teeth. Age is not a factor when determining implant candidacy as long as growth is complete. In the past, people with osteoporosis, diabetes, or other diseases that affect bone may have been told that they are not candidates for implants. With new technology and advanced techniques, Dr. Bulloch has had tremendous success with these difficult cases.
What Are The Benefits Of Dental Implants?
Everyone needs teeth to maintain a comfortable standard of living. Missing teeth cause your bone to shrink down due to lack of use, which can cause your facial features to age prematurely. Missing teeth also can do more than impact your ability to chew, they can impact your confidence by affecting your smile. The loss of back teeth can make you chew on the front teeth. These teeth are not designed for chewing and tend to wear down, chip, and fracture. One of the most important factors in keeping your front teeth in good shape is to keep back teeth to chew with.
When Should An Implant Be Placed?
In most cases, an implant may be placed at the same time that the failing tooth is removed. That allows for one placement procedure and for more comfortable healing. Since the implant is placed right into the tooth socket, there is less drilling and no socket left. You cannot get food caught in the socket or get a dry socket since there is no socket left. This is, however; a more advanced technique with a significant learning curve requiring advanced training and experience. This is a procedure we perform several times every day, so we are very good at it.
If a tooth is already missing, it can be replaced at any time, but if there has been a lot of bone loss in the area, some bone grafting may be required to rebuild the bony ridge either prior or at the time of the implant placement.
Implant needs vary for each patient. Because of this, the success of implants depends tremendously on the experience and training of your surgeon. As a result, we recommend that patients come in for an exam and 3D x-ray to allow us to evaluate your individual situation and needs so that we can present you with your best options.