Dental Implants are basically different ways of filling a gap due to a missing tooth.
Unlike sharks, sadly our adult teeth do not grow back. How you lost your tooth can vary widely, whether due to neglect or accident and once it’s gone there are several ways to fill the gap and return your natural smile.
Some people do not care how a toothy gap is filled, but it is best to know all the options, the pros and cons of each and decide which is right for you.
The main options for filling a gap from a missing tooth are:
- A removable Denture
- A Bridge
- An Implant
Bridges are not a conservative approach, because the adjacent teeth must be prepared. The teeth either side of the gap are reshaped down to a peg shape so as to act as an anchor for the bridge. This gap is literally ‘bridged’ by a single moulded piece which looks like 3 or more teeth, secured at each end by being fitted over the prepared anchor teeth.
Implants on the other hand are more conservative than a Bridge, as the implant does not require reshaping the adjacent teeth. Instead, we are able to drill a hole in the bone at the gap location,
By taking an XRay of the jaw, from several angles if required, we can determine how much bone is available, along with position of nerves and cheekbone etc. Provided the amount of bone is sufficient and in good condition, a suitable sized hole is drilled and a titanium screw placed inside.
Once the titanium screw is secure, it will be used to hold a crown which looks like a natural single tooth to fill the gap.
The Crown cannot be fitted right away however as we need to give it time to become integrated with the bone, and this is one of the considerations in choosing between an Implant and a Crown.
The titanium implant screw should be left for a period of at least two months, to allow the bone to securely bed the screw into its permanent home, ready to hold the crown securely for day to day living. Allowing additional time beyond 2 months can help the new crown to be even more secure when fitted.
If you are wanting a more permanent solution for filling a gap, but do not want to have to wait the few months for the titanium implant to be ready for the crown, then a bridge is a faster solution as the process can be completed in just two weeks.
As a local Moss Vale Dentist, I find that many local people don’t want pain or discomfort. I like to reassure clients that by preparing the gum beforehand with careful use of the dental wand, gentle procedures and the latest procedures you can be confident of a pain free experience.