The Single Implant

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When you lose a single tooth this can be replaced with a denture, bridge or a single implant. Dentures do result in plaque and food debris retention, and are not a healthy single tooth replacement option. A bridge is a sensible option when you are not suited to dental implants. The shortfall of a bridge is that the bite force of two teeth is put onto one tooth and this will inevitably reduce the tooth’s life expectancy.

The most common request for implants is replacement of a single tooth which has been lost because of gum disease or mechanical breakdown of a previous filling or crown. It is wise to restore gaps with single implants as this :

  • restores the continuity of the jaw and this preserves the bite
  • there is less of a tendency for other teeth to start moving which causes food packing and gum disease
  • unpredictable tooth movement due to unrestored spaces can cause a poor bite, which can also result in jaw trouble, and breakage of other filled teeth or crowns

The single implant  restores your self esteem, and chewing, and avoids the use of tedious and unsightly dentures. Together with a hygiene maintenance programme, restoring that gap will your oral health and enjoy your wonderful smile again.

dental_implant_singleimplantThe real benefit of replacing a single tooth gap with an implant is the fact that the implant will carry its own load and when it fails will not take another root with it. Other benefits include:

  • the implant is made of solid titanium which is very strong. It is unlikely for this to break with normal bite forces.
  • the implant will carry its own load and will not be connected to an adjacent tooth
  • our ceramic technicians are excellent at making the outside porcelain look very natural and life-like and with careful colour matching and design, the average person will not be able to distinguish between an implant tooth and a natural tooth.

There are some considerations when planning a single tooth implant....

  • A bone graft may be required to ensure that the implant is completely covered by bone to minimise the chances of future peri-implantitis (inflammation of the tissues surrounding a dental implant).When you possess a significant deficit of bone it is very challenging to mask this and prevent the implant crown  from looking long. This is particularly problematic if you possess a ‘high smile line’ such that all the tissues of your gum shows during normal  speech. Our implant surgeon will discuss this and assess the possibility of reducing the visual impact. Whereas use of bone grafts can help to re-establish jaw bone width, they cannot successfully re-establish lost height of bone.
  • The implant surgery will result in some (usually minimal) gum recession around the adjacent teeth and this must be planned for.
  • Although the components are made of very robust materials, the crown (top part) is held in place by a screw, and over a few years this screw can lose its tightness. As a result, the whole crown will come loose. As long as there is no damage to the various components it is possible to screw the crown back on.
  • Although it is possible to manufacture the crown with outstanding aesthetics, the combination of some recessed gum, bone loss causing a tall crown, and a high smile line which reveals all adjacent gum anatomy, sometimes makes the matching of an upper central incisor extremely difficult.
  • When the combination of factors make it impossible to mask in a very high smile, we would design the implant crown with a ‘root effect’ neck to make this blend in to other teeth which have their necks revealed. Alternatively, we would place a ‘pink porcelain’ neck to make the tooth part resemble adjacent gum and not look so long by itself.


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