On the popular TV Show “Top Docs of DFW,” Dr. John Wallace discusses the latest advances in dental implants.
If you are missing a single tooth, one implant and a crown can replace it. In some cases, patients can have a single implant placed and return to work the same day. A dental implant is placed at the site of the missing or extracted tooth. The purpose of the implant is to serve as the root of the missing tooth, therefore maintaining the bone quality and integrity.
What are the advantages of a single-tooth implant over a bridge? A dental implant provides several advantages over other tooth replacement options. In addition to looking and functioning like a natural tooth, a dental implant replaces a single tooth without sacrificing the health of neighboring teeth. The other common treatment for the loss of a single tooth, a tooth-supported fixed bridge, requires that adjacent teeth be ground down to support the cemented bridge.
Because a dental implant will replace your tooth root, the bone is better preserved. With a bridge, some of the bone that previously surrounded the tooth begins to resorb (deteriorate). Dental implants integrate with your jawbone, helping to keep the bone healthy and intact.
In the long term, a single implant can be more esthetic and easier to keep clean than a bridge. Gums can recede around a bridge, leaving a visible defect when the metal base or collar of the bridge becomes exposed. Resorbed bone beneath the bridge can lead to an unattractive smile. And, the cement holding the bridge in place can wash out, allowing bacteria to decay the teeth that anchor the bridge.