Tooth Replacement Dental implants can replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or an entire arch of teeth. Once implants are placed and allowed to heal for a short period of time, the prosthesis (tooth replacement) is connected to the implant via an anchor called an abutment. Modern dental implants require far shorter healing times (4-6 weeks) than traditional dental implants, which required up to six months of healing. Implants can also be placed immediately into the area where a tooth has been extracted and can often have temporary teeth attached the same day of surgery.
A single missing, or soon-to-be-missing, tooth can be easily and predictably replaced with an implant-retained crown. An implant crown is highly esthetic and will feel and function like a natural tooth. There are multiple benefits to choosing dental implant over a bridge to replace missing teeth. When used to replace a single tooth, an implant, unlike a bridge, will not require the shaving-down of neighboring teeth. Also unlike a bridge, dental implant will maintain the bone around the missing tooth intact. An implant is also much easier to clean as compared to a bridge and will not be affected by cavities. When replacing multiple teeth, dental implants can be used to support implant-bridges that are permanently fixed in your mouth and will not move around like partials or dentures. Because dental implants replace the roots of the missing natural teeth, they preserve the jawbone and prevent bone deterioration. This preservation of jawbone helps to keep both the bone and gum tissue from collapsing, a process that can give denture patients a prematurely aged, “sunken-in” look. With a traditional bridge, the cement that glues the bridge to the teeth will “wash-out” from underneath the bridge. This exposes the tooth, allowing cavities to form. Unlike a traditional bridge, dental implants do not get cavities, nor do they weaken adjacent teeth.