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Single Tooth Implant: Your Quick Guide (2024)

Single tooth implant on a lady resulting in a confident smile.

If you are missing a single tooth, one dental implant and one crown can be used to replace it. The single tooth implant will replace both the natural tooth that was lost as well as the root. 

I am writing this quick guide to help you understand a bit more about single tooth implants before you make a decision with the help of your dentist. 

 

Looking to replace more teeth? Then you might be better suited for All-on-4 dental implants

 

What are single tooth implants? 

Single tooth implants, as the name suggests, are a single dental implant that is used to replace your current missing tooth. It is commonly used to replace teeth that have been extracted or removed because of gum disease, severe dental decay, teeth that cannot be salvaged with root canal treatment, or dental trauma. 

 

When do I need single tooth implants?

You will typically need a single tooth implant if you have a missing tooth or have a tooth that has sustained significant decay. Some common situations where I have been asked to replace a tooth immediately with single tooth implants are: 

 

  • A knocked out tooth from an accident or sports-related trauma 
  • Dental decay that has resulted in a dead tooth 
  • Advanced gum disease that has led to loose teeth

 

Read more: What happens if I leave a gap at the site of my missing tooth? 

 

Do I really need single tooth implants? 

Well the short answer to this question is, no. There are many other dental replacement alternatives that are available for you should you find yourself missing or losing your tooth. However, single tooth implants are highly recommended by dental professionals as they look and feel the most natural. 

Natural looking teeth because of single tooth implants

There are long-term benefits to single tooth implants as well. Unlike dentures or dental bridges, single tooth implants do not wear down your surrounding teeth or gums with time. This is a huge perk for patients like you as it reduces the amount of dental visits you need in the future. Less dental visits means more savings for you!

 

Read more: The economic benefits of good oral health. 

 

Single tooth implant vs dental bridges 

A single tooth implant has several benefits over other tooth replacement alternatives. Apart from dental implants looking and functioning like a natural tooth, a dental implant can also be used to replace a single tooth without compromising the health of the neighboring teeth.

Another treatment option available for individuals who lost a single tooth is a tooth-supported fixed bridge. However, this alternative to a single tooth implant will require that the adjacent teeth grinded down. This is done so it can support the cemented bridge.

Since a dental implant will replace the root of the tooth, the bone will be preserved better. With a bridge, there is a possibility that some of the bone that surrounds the affected tooth can deteriorate or resorb. Dental implants on the other hand integrate with the jawbone so it helps ensure the bone is kept intact and healthy.

A single tooth implant also looks more appealing than a bridge. It is also way easier to clean. In addition, a bridge can cause the surrounding gums to recede. When this happens, a visible defect is seen in the event the collar of the bridge or the metal base is exposed.

The resorbed bone beneath the bridge can also lead to a smile that is unattractive. Moreover, there is also the possibility that the bridge in place will wash out and will cause bacteria to decay the teeth that are anchoring the bridge.

 

Single-Tooth Dental Implant Dental Bridge
Treatment Purpose Replaces a single missing tooth Replaces one or more adjacent missing teeth
Procedure Complexity Surgical placement of implant Non-surgical placement of bridge
Number of Teeth Affected Only the missing tooth and root Adjacent teeth require preparation
Adjacent Teeth Impact Adjacent teeth are unaffected Adjacent teeth are prepared and crowned
Longevity Can last a lifetime with proper care Typically lasts 10-15 years, may need replacement
Aesthetics Provides a natural, seamless look Appearance may depend on quality of bridge
Bone Preservation Helps preserve jawbone density Does not stimulate bone preservation
Maintenance Cleaned like natural teeth Requires special floss/threader for cleaning underneath
Cost Initially higher cost Initially lower cost, but may require replacement over time
Treatment Time Longer treatment and healing period Faster treatment with no healing period
Potential Complications Possible surgical complications Possibility of decay or issues with supporting teeth
Adjacency Requirements Suitable even if adjacent teeth are healthy Requires adjacent teeth to be strong enough to support the bridge
Implant Material Typically titanium N/A (Bridge is typically made of porcelain or metal alloy)
Impact on Speech No impact on speech May take some time to adjust to the bridge

 

What are the advantages of single tooth implants? 

Advantages Single-Tooth Dental Implants
Natural Look and Feel Provides a natural appearance and function
Preserves Adjacent Teeth Adjacent teeth are unaffected
Longevity Can last a lifetime with proper care
Bone Preservation Helps preserve jawbone density
Easy Maintenance Cleaned like natural teeth
No Impact on Speech No impact on speech
High Success Rate Generally high success rate with proper care
Treatment Independence Does not rely on adjacent teeth for support
Enhanced Chewing Ability Provides full chewing function

 

Single tooth implant dental procedure 

A single tooth implant procedure is fairly straightforward. A dental implant which looks similar to that of a cylinder or screw is placed in your jaw. Over the next two to six months, the bone and the implant will be allowed to fuse together so an anchor for the artificial tooth is formed. While waiting, a temporary tooth replacement can be worn over the site of the implant.

In most cases, a second step is done to uncover the implant so an extension can be attached. The temporary healing cap will complete the foundation on which the new tooth will be placed. After the procedure, the gums will also be given at least two months to heal.

There are one-stage implant systems that do not require the second step mentioned above. These systems make use of implants that already have an attached extension piece. Your dentist will be able to recommend the system that will work best for each case.

 

Interested in having same-day crowns? Find out more about same day crowns vs traditional crowns.

 

Lastly, a crown (replacement tooth) will be attached to a small metal post also known as an abutment. 

After only a short period of time, you will be able to enjoy renewed confidence in your smile as well as the ability to chew and speak better. The good thing is dental implants look and feel just like natural teeth so you can sometimes forget they are there.

Happy couple after receiving single tooth implant surgery

When it comes to dental implants, every case can differ and some steps might be combined when the situation calls for it. Your chosen dental professional will recommend the best treatment plan for you so that optimum results are achieved.

 

Ready to make a commitment? Find out more about how much dental implants cost in Singapore before proceeding with a consultation. 

 

Dr. Gerald Tan
drgeraldtan@gmail.com