• Daniel Saffo

Are Single-Tooth Dental Implants Right For Me?

In 1952, an orthopedic surgeon named Dr. Per-Ingvar Brånemark was studying the effects of bone regeneration and healing. During the study, Dr. Brånemark implanted a piece of titanium into a rabbit's femur. At the end of the study, Dr. Brånemark tried to retrieve the piece of titanium. Upon his surprise, the femur had fused to the titanium. Thus, the wonderful world of dental implants had begun.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is scientifically engineered to fuse with your jaw bone. This fusion is called osseointegration. There are 3 parts to a single tooth implant: the implant itself, the crown, and the abutment. The abutment connects the crown to the implant.

What are the pros and cons?

Success can be measured in two categories: functionality and esthetics. Titanium implants are grey in color. The bone in the front of the jaw is typically quite thin. While small diameter implants can be placed in the front of the jaw, this grey color can shine through the bone. This gives the appearance of a grey tooth. Another factor that is difficult to manage is gum-line positioning. If esthetics are your primary concern, a dental implant may not be right for you. Dental implants are at their best when placed in the back of the mouth. They can restore function and behave very similar to natural teeth.

When choosing between a root canal or a dental implant, which should I choose?

I get this question a lot. Literature shows that the success rate of an dental implant can be up to 95%. The success rate of a root canal is also up to 95%. The most crucial factor is the experience of the operator/dentist. While dental implants are wonderful, nothing quite replaces a natural tooth. One thing dental implants can't replace is proprioception- the awareness of the position and movement of the mandible/lower jaw. We always recommend to save your teeth before considering implants.

How long does it take to place an implant from beginning to end?

While the actual procedure is relatively short and simple, the bottle-neck comes from healing. In order to osseointegrate, we typically recommend 3 months of healing in the lower jaw and 4 months of healing in the upper jaw. Once the healing is complete, a crown can be placed on top of the implant.

-Dr. Daniel Saffo DMD


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