Single Tooth Implant
Single Tooth Implant

SINGLE TOOTH IMPLANT

A single tooth implant is a common tooth replacement option that can be used in persons with one or more missing teeth. It requires the surgical placement of an implant in an opening that has been made in your jawbone. Once the implant fuses to your jawbone, it will act as a new root for the tooth crown, which will replace the missing tooth.

There must be enough bone in the jaw before this procedure can be successfully carried out. The jawbone must be strong enough to firmly hold and support the implant. Bone grafting or bone augmentation can be done if the bone in the jaw is not enough. Also, the existing natural teeth and supporting tissues around the area where the implant will be fitted must be healthy.

Parts of a Single Tooth Implant

  • The Implant: This is made of titanium. The implant is placed in the jawbone.
  • The Abutment: It is made of either gold, titanium, or porcelain. The abutment which is shaped like a divided natural tooth is fixed to the implant with a screw. The abutment is the link between the implant and the crown.
  • The Restoration: The restoration which looks like a tooth, is the crown. It is manufactured with Porcelain fused to a metal alloy (PFM); some come in pure metal or porcelain. The crown or restoration is cemented or screwed to the abutment

How to Care For Your Single Tooth Implant

Caring for your single tooth implant requires no special routine. You need to care for it in the same manner at which you care for your natural teeth. You must brush and floss daily.

If you experience any problems with the single tooth implant, you should visit our dentist at Harley Street London for an examination.

What Will X-ray Reveal?

You will be able to view the implant in the jawbone, the abutment and the restoration (the crown). Through the X-ray, our dentist will be able to assess how all the parts of the single tooth implant fit together.

The dentist also needs the X-ray to find out any underlying issues with the implant and take prompt actions to prevent complications.

What are the Possible Complications?

There is an established risk of surgery.

Asides the possibility of surgery, the single tooth implant can fail. This can occur if an infection develops in the root, or if the way the teeth come together is not adjusted correctly.

Clenching or grinding teeth can exert so much pressure on the single tooth implant. This could lead to bone loss and breakage of the implant.

A nerve on the lower jaw can become injured when a lower tooth is replaced by an implant. This nerve runs through the jawbone. The nerve can be injured during the drilling of the jawbone or the placement of the implant. This will result in numbness and tingling, which can be temporary (until the nerve heals) or permanent. X-rays and computed tomography (CT) scan will reveal the location of the nerve, which will help our dentist to work on pain management.

In the upper jaw, there is a higher risk of drilling into the sinuses or nasal cavity through the jawbone, consequently causing an infection. Our dentists at Harley Street London can avoid this by taking X-rays prior your surgery to determine the location of your nerves and sinuses.

The Procedure

The duration for the successful installation of the implant and crown is dependent on several factors.

When the traditional technique is opted for, the shortest duration for the complete procedure is about 5 months in the lower jaw and 6 months in the upper jaw. This time frame includes some surgeries and the final placement of the permanent crown. The whole process can last for more than a year if there is need to build up the jawbone.

Two procedures are required in the traditional technique, having 3 to 6 months between them.

First procedure: A small incision is initially made into the gum where the implant will eventually be placed. A hole is then drilled in the jawbone, followed by the placement of the implant into the hole in the bone, and the incision is closed properly with stitches.

Second Procedure: This takes place at the end of the healing period. A new incision is made to expose the implant. A collar or a healing cap is then screwed on the top of the implant. This will aid the surrounding gum tissues to heal up. The healing cap is usually removed after a few weeks, and the abutment is finally screwed into the implant to support the crown.

Some dentists prefer to opt for a one-stage procedure in which the implants, abutments and a temporary crown or bridge are installed in one visit.

Another technique requires the implants and the healing caps to be placed at the same time.

The traditional method is done systematically. The steps are as follows:

  • Initial Consultation

You will have to see a prosthodontist or a general dentist at Harley Street London who is skilful in the placement and restoration of dental implants.

A comprehensive examination will be carried out by our dentist. Your medical and dental history will be taken, X-rays will be taken, and impressions of your teeth and gums will be created so that models can be made.

Certain procedures such as bone grafting or bone distraction can be done to build up a bone. Grafting requires the taking of bone from another part of the body into your jaw. The graft could be your bone a processed cadaver or pig bone.

If you are required to undergo any of these procedures, it will take up to 12 months for the jawbone to be ready for the implant.

  • 1st Surgery: Implant Placement

First Month (if bone grafting is NOT required)

Fifth Month (if bone grafting is required)

Once your jawbone is enough to hold a tooth implant successfully, you will proceed to the first surgery which involves the placement of the implant(s) in your jaw. A prosthodontist or general dentist who is well experienced in implantology will perform this procedure. A plastic surgical guide that has been made by your prosthodontist will be fitted over your existing teeth and also extend over the area where teeth are missing to identify the areas that need the implants.

After this surgery, your prosthodontist will wait for about five months if the implants were fitted in the lower jaw, and up to seven months if in the upper jaw. Your jawbone and the implants will fuse during the waiting period.

  • 2nd Surgery: Placement of Healing Cap and Temporary Crown

Fourth or Fifth Month (no bone grafting, lower jaw)

Sixth or Seventh Month (bone grafting, lower jaw)

Tenth or Eleventh Month (bone grafting, upper jaw)

Once the implants and the jawbone have completely fused, you will proceed to the second surgery. Your dentist will, first of all, take an X-ray to ascertain whether the implant is ready for the second surgery.

A new incision will be made to expose the heads of the implants. A healing cap is then placed on the head of the implant to guide the gum tissue to heal correctly. The healing cap is a round metal piece that keeps the gum away from the top of the implant. The healing cap will be in situ for two weeks.

  • 3rd Surgery: Placement of The Permanent Crown

5th, 6th or 7th Month (no bone grafting, lower jaw)

7th, 8th or 9th Month (no bone grafting, upper jaw)

9th, 10th or 11th Month (bone grafting, lower jaw)

11th, 12th or 13th Month (bone grafting, upper jaw)

Your permanent crown will be ready within two to three weeks, or less. The permanent crown can be made from your teeth model and the gum tissue, including the abutment.

The permanent crown can be cemented or screwed to the abutment. Permanent Crowns which are cemented may look better because there is no visible screw hole in the crown. However, screwed crowns are easier to remove by your dentist if there is a need to assess the implant or the surrounding tissue.

What To Expect

Single Tooth implants, if properly fitted, will appear and function like your natural teeth. Some studies have shown thus far that single tooth implants can last for as long as 25 years.

Where to Get your Single Tooth Implant in the UK

At Smile Works Dental, we provide professional fitting of Single Tooth Implants.

Connect with us to get professional advice on the best material of implants to use and how to get started.

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