Single Tooth Dental Implants

The oral surgeons at Central Valley OMS are skilled at placing aesthetic implants for patients missing one tooth. Common reasons for needing a single tooth replacement include having a tooth knocked out during sports, a broken tooth that cannot be fixed, and severe tooth decay that has not yet spread to other teeth. 

A single tooth replacement is made of a titanium screw or rod placed in the jawbone to replace the missing tooth root. Once this implant fuses with the surrounding bone, a custom-designed crown is attached to restore the look and feel of a natural tooth.

Is a Single Tooth Dental Implant Necessary?

A single tooth dental implant may be the best replacement option if you are missing one tooth. While you can get a bridge to replace the visible portion of a missing tooth, placement of a bridge requires grinding down the teeth on either side. Because a bridge does not replace the missing tooth root, your jawbone will deteriorate around the empty tooth socket. Single tooth implants are preferable for several reasons, including:

  • Preservation of the jawbone. The implant placed in the jaw fuses with the surrounding bone, encouraging new bone growth and preserving jawbone integrity.
  • The implant does not damage adjacent teeth.
  • Gum recession due to a dental bridge is unattractive.
  • If the cement around a bridge is washed out or deteriorates, bacteria can cause infection of the teeth supporting the bridge.
  • Single dental implants are more attractive, comfortable, and permanent than bridges.
  • Without an implant to replace the root of a missing tooth, jawbone deterioration can lead to shifting of adjacent teeth, receding gums, and other oral health issues.

Am I a Candidate for Single Tooth Replacement?

If you are in good overall health and are missing one tooth, you may be a candidate for a single implant. You need to have sufficient jawbone strength and width to support the implant or be willing to undergo bone grafting to build up the area.

Individuals with bleeding disorders, certain autoimmune conditions, or uncontrolled diabetes may not be good candidates for single tooth replacement with an implant.

Procedure for Single Tooth Dental Implants

Before Surgery

You and your oral surgeon will review your dental implant options and any work required before implant placement. This may include extraction of the broken or decayed tooth or bone grafting if you do not have enough jawbone to support the implant. Sedation options and other details are reviewed with you. We provide detailed pre-op instructions for the day before and the day of surgery.

Implant Placement

Most single tooth implants require two procedures. Implant placement is a surgical procedure performed in our office, usually under IV sedation or local anesthesia. After surgery, several months are needed for the titanium screw or post to fuse with the surrounding bone. Once healing is complete, the implant provides a stable foundation for the crown that will be attached. 

During surgery, a small incision is made in the gums to access the underlying bone. Your oral surgeon then uses a drill to provide a space for the implant and inserts it. The gums are stitched over the implant to protect the area while the implant fuses with the surrounding bone. This can take anywhere from 3-6 months. During this time, a temporary crown is attached so you do not have a gap in the teeth.

Implant Exposure & Dental Restoration

After the area is sufficiently healed, your surgeon performs a second minor surgery to expose the implant. An impression is taken of the implant and the surrounding tissues so a dental lab can fit a customized crown to replace the visible portion of the tooth. Your dentist will also take impressions of your remaining teeth and design the crown to match and look natural. When the crown is complete, your dentist will attach it permanently to the implant.

What are Aesthetic Implants?

Implants placed in the aesthetic zone replace teeth that are visible when you smile. These are usually the teeth between the canines, where the jawbone is thinner and placement is more complicated. Because these teeth are visible, aesthetic implants require extreme skill and an eye for detail. Our surgeons have years of experience in placing single teeth dental implants in the aesthetic zone, working closely with dentists and prosthodontists to ensure aesthetic implants are comfortable, functional, and attractive.

If you need a single tooth replacement, the first step is a consultation with one of our oral surgeons to learn more about your options. Contact our office at Visalia Office Phone Number (559) 732-7946 to schedule a consultation.