Replacing single teeth with dental implants is very common, and almost easy!
Each case is different, and there are a few common ways that single teeth are replaced, and these depend on if the implant is placed at the same time as the old tooth is removed (this is called immediate placement), or if there is a healing period where the tooth is removed, and nothing is placed for about 2-3 months.
It is normally better to leave the area to heal before placing an implant, but there are some situations where the old tooth can be removed, the implant placed, and the tooth is placed on the implant in a single session. Although this sounds great, always remember that it is a temporary tooth which is placed on the implant at this stage, and the final tooth is normally placed after the implant has joined to the bone.
About the implant placement
Implant placement is the bit of this treatment which most people are anxious about. Normally for single teeth, the placement is quick and easy, and healing is without any issues.
If you need additional bone grafting and bone movements, then there may be some swelling and little discomfort after treatment, this normally goes pretty quickly.
The actual surgery part of this treatment takes about 30 minutes, and you should not feel anything because of the anaesthetic used.
After treatment, there may be some metal visible at the gum, or not, depending on the situation. If it is a front tooth, you should always have some kind of temporary tooth while the treatment is completed.
The healing phase
You need to give the new implant a little time to let the bone grow close to it, this can take 3-6 months (or more in very complex cases).
During this time, you shouldn’t feel anything at all.
Putting the crown on the implant
This is the bit you have been building up to! From this point on, it’s plain sailing, most of the time, no injections, and very short appointments.
Once the tooth is in position, it will feel just like your original tooth, but it will take getting used to because chances are that you have been without a tooth there for 6-9 months, and forgotten what it’s like to have a fixed tooth in that position!
Long Term Care
Dental Implants are not cheap, so you want to make sure you care for them well. Although they cannot get tooth decay, they can get gum disease, and this is called peri-implantitis.
This is quite an important subject and I will write about this at a later date.