If you have a missing tooth, a dental implant is a great way to replace that tooth. To receive an implant, you have a metal post surgically placed in your jaw, and then a false tooth is made to fit over the post. The end result is the closest thing that man can do to mimic a tooth and its natural root.
When a tooth is near the front of the mouth, there are cosmetic issues that need to be addressed, and we recommend using a genuine cosmetic dentist who has had full training in cosmetic dentistry. (For referral to an expert cosmetic dentist, please visit our referral page.) Getting the end result to look like a real tooth is a monumental challenge. The teeth next to the implant tooth will have complex color gradients that need to be matched in the false tooth. The gums need to be sculpted in such a way that they look natural. A cosmetic dentist will pay special attention to the placement of the implant post so that the false tooth has the correct inclination in your mouth.
The other typical way to replace your missing tooth is with a bridge. A bridge suspends the missing tooth between the teeth on either side. Or, the tooth or teeth may be replaced with a removable appliance.
The main advantage of an implant is that nothing has to be done to the teeth on either side. If they are healthy, they can be left untreated, whereas the placement of a bridge may require those teeth to have crowns placed on them.
If the teeth on either side of the missing tooth need crowns anyway, there is little advantage to the implant. Another disadvantage is that an implant is expensive, and the cost often isn’t covered by dental insurance. Also, there will be two dentists involved in your treatment. One will be the surgeon, who places the implant post in your jaw. The cosmetic dentist will then place the implant crown (false tooth) on top of the implant. Also, with most current implant surgery techniques, there is a healing period after the implant post is placed. This can be as long as several months, before the implant post can have a tooth placed on it.
Look at photographs of dental implants done by one of our mynewsmile dentists to see how lifelike they appear.
This content was written by Dr. David Hall.
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