Many people will lose at least one adult tooth at some point in their lives. It can happen as a result of trauma, like an accident in the workplace or a sports injury, or because of decay or disease. Regardless of the reason, many people in need of replacing a single tooth turn to dental implants. The implant post, abutment, and crown of a dental implant can fully restore a tooth, returning its ability to function with natural-looking results.
Oral & Facial Surgery of New Mexico offers a variety of implant-based treatment options, including single tooth replacement, to help patients feel confident about their smile while improving oral health. If you have a tooth that is missing or damaged beyond the point of saving, we invite you to contact us in Las Cruces and Roswell, NM, to explore your tooth restoration options. Dr. Bryce Heiner is a board-certified, dual-degree oral and maxillofacial surgeon who will closely examine your oral health and create a custom plan to restore your smile.
Replace a Missing Tooth With Single Implants
Single tooth implants are an efficient way to get your smile back without having to worry about the inconveniences of partial dentures or bridges. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that prevents bone loss caused by missing teeth. This is because the implant post is embedded into the jaw bone and stimulates the jaw, just like a natural tooth root.
Traditional bridges can restore the appearance of a missing tooth, but they are tooth-supported. This means they rely on adjacent teeth for support, which can damage surrounding teeth. When one or more crowns are supported with a dental implant, there is no need to rely on existing teeth. The implant will provide more stability and function compared to a traditional bridge or partial. Bridges and dentures will need to be replaced every few years due to wear and tear, whereas dental implants do not need to be replaced as long as they are taken care of.
Why Choose Dental Implants?
Single dental implants have helped numerous patients feel proud about their smile and improve their oral health. There are numerous benefits to choosing dental implants over removable restoration options, including:
- The results are long-term and can last a lifetime with proper care
- The dental implant procedure is performed using anesthesia or sedation, so there is no worry about pain or discomfort
- Many patients qualify, even those with gum disease
- The implant crown is made just for your smile and will blend in with your natural teeth
- A dental implant replaces the entire tooth’s structure, including the root, which positively contributes to your oral health
Can I Get a Dental Implant Years After an Extraction?
Some people who have a tooth extracted do not choose to replace it right away. Over time, this can cause the jaw bone to atrophy where the tooth is missing, or cause nearby teeth to shift into the open space. Luckily, you can restore a missing tooth at any time. As long as the jaw bone is healthy and strong enough to support an implant, and you are in good overall health to undergo the surgical procedure, you likely qualify for a dental implant.
If the jaw bone has deteriorated, we can use a bone graft to regrow bone in a specific area. Once the graft has healed, there will be a sturdy foundation for a dental implant. If you are having a tooth extracted but do not plan on immediately replacing it with a dental implant, your oral surgeon can place a bone graft inside the empty tooth socket. This method, known as socket preservation, maintains the integrity of the tooth socket and makes future implant placement easier.