Single tooth replacement

Why should you consider dental implants?


If you, like millions of Americans, have lost one or more teeth, you may be all too familiar with the unpleasant consequences. For many, missing teeth lead to an unattractive smile, embarrassment from loose dentures, and pain or difficulty with eating.


Traditional dentistry can provide replacements for missing teeth using bridges, removable partials and dentures; however, each of these has its problems.


Bridgework usually involves altering natural teeth to provide a stable foundation for support of replacement teeth. Partials and dentures can, at times, be very unstable leading to denture sores or speech difficulties. Another little known problem associated with tooth loss is a process known as "atrophy," a shrinking of the jawbone that can progress relentlessly over the years. Bone atrophy not only affects jaw function, but also can cause adverse facial cosmetic changes.


Because of the remarkable advances in dentistry in recent years, dental implants offer an effective solution to many of these problems.


How are dental implants placed?


Dental implants are usually completed in two phases.

Phase #1 is the actual implant placement, a process generally performed in the office with local anesthesia or light sedation to help make the patient more comfortable. Using precise, gentle surgical techniques, the implants are placed into the jawbone for 3 to 6 months while osseointegration (bonding to bone) takes place. This helps ensure a strong, solid foundation for replacement teeth. During this time, temporary bridges or dentures may be used to minimize any cosmetic or chewing inconvenience.


What are some of the benefits of dental implants?

Dental implants are an effective, safe and predictable solution to the problems resulting from missing teeth. Many patients report exciting benefits from dental implants, such as:

1.    Replacement teeth look, feel and function like natural teeth

2.    Improve taste and appetite

3.    Improved cosmetic appearance

4.    The ability to chew without pain or gum irritation

5.    Improved quality of life


One additional and very important benefit can be the reduction or elimination of bone atrophy or shrinkage, commonly associated with loss of teeth.


Dental implants are truly a revolution, solving an age-old problem safely and predictably. Implant dentistry can change the smiles and lives of millions for years to come.


The most common feedback from dental patients who have implant supported restorations is that they experience increased confidence, especially in social situations. They describe the ability to speak freely without concern that their teeth may come loose and the comfort of making choices from the entire restaurant menu rather than the necessity to exclude certain foods.


How Long Will Dental Implants Last?


Dental implants become fixed into the jawbone. Though the life span of a dental implant varies from patient to patient, many have lasted for over 30 years. With good oral hygiene and regular cleanings, dental implants can last a lifetime.


Replacing a Single Tooth


If you are missing a single tooth, one implant and a crown can replace it. A dental implant replaces both the lost natural tooth and its root.


What are the advantages of a single-tooth implant over a bridge?

A dental implant provides several advantages over other tooth replacement options. In addition to looking and functioning like a natural tooth, a dental implant replaces a single tooth without sacrificing the health of neighboring teeth. The other common treatment for the loss of a single tooth, a tooth-supported fixed bridge, requires that adjacent teeth be ground down to support the cemented bridge.


Because a dental implant will replace your tooth root, the bone is better preserved. With a bridge, some of the bone that previously surrounded the tooth begins to resorb (deteriorate). Dental implants integrate with your jawbone, helping to keep the bone healthy and intact.


In the long term, a single implant can be more esthetic and easier to keep clean than a bridge. Gums can recede around a bridge, leaving a visible defect when the metal base or collar of the bridge becomes exposed. Resorbed bone beneath the bridge can lead to an unattractive smile. And, the cement holding the bridge in place can wash out, allowing bacteria to decay the teeth that anchor the bridge.



Replacing All of Your Teeth


If you are missing all of your teeth, an implant-supported full bridge or full denture can replace them. Dental implants will replace both your lost natural teeth and some of the roots.


What are the advantages of implant-supported full bridges and implant-supported dentures over conventional dentures?

Dental implants provide several advantages over other teeth replacement options. In addition to looking and functioning like natural teeth, implant-supported full bridges or dentures are designed to be long lasting. Implant-supported full bridges and dentures also are more comfortable and stable than conventional dentures, allowing you to retain a more natural biting and chewing capacity.


In addition, because implant-supported full bridges and dentures will replace some of your tooth roots, your bone is better preserved. With conventional dentures, the bone that previously surrounded the tooth roots begins to resorb (deteriorate). Dental implants integrate with your jawbone, helping to keep the bone healthy and intact.


In the long term, implants can be more esthetic and easier to maintain than conventional dentures. The loss of bone that accompanies conventional dentures leads to recession of the jawbone and a collapsed, unattractive smile. Conventional dentures make it difficult to eat certain foods.


No Gag - Palateless Dentures


An attractive element of using standard dental implants or the use of specialized mini implants is the ability for patients to obtain tooth replacement options that eliminate, forever, the problem of managing the gag reflex problem that can occur with standard dentures.

Fixed bridges, overdentures and/or a redesign of an existing denture can be available by Dr. Romero for certain patients who can benefit from implant placements.


What are the advantages of dental implants over dentures and bridges?


  • Reduced bone loss:  Normally, the bone tissue surrounding the root of your tooth is maintained by your body’s natural renewal process. However, if you loose a tooth, you will be left with a hole where your tooth root used to be and the bone around this area will slowly begin to disappear (atrophy) and may change the shape of your jaw. A dental implant placed in that area can actually stimulate bone growth and production, preventing loss of valuable bone structure. In some patients where bone loss is substantial a bone graft may be required before placing a dental implant. Bone loss is a problem for people who have dentures and as the shape of the jaw slowly changes the dentures need to be adjusted or re-made to fit the new shape of the jaw. Bone loss can also make a person look older since the area around the mouth can sag as bone is lost


  • Improved function:  Once dental implants are fully integrated into you jaw they function just as well as your own natural teeth and you can eat the foods you want and speak with complete confidence. With dentures, eating hard foods such as an apple can be a problem, either the dentures come loose or patients cannot withstand the hard biting forces as they cause pain in the gums. Irritation and inflammation of the gums is a common problem amongst denture patients. Dentures can be supported by implants or mini-implants which will improve function greatly enabling patients to eat the foods they want with complete confidence and not having to worry about bone loss and loose dentures falling out.


  • Improved dental hygiene: Unlike bridges and dentures, which require special cleaning instructions and extra attention, dental implants just need regular brushing, flossing and dental hygiene appointments just like your natural teeth.


  • No need to drill or remove any healthy tooth structure:  When replacing missing teeth with dental bridges, the teeth adjacent to the gap need to be prepared and healthy tooth structure is removed to accommodate a crown or bridge abutment to fit over the top of the tooth. In the future if one of the supporting teeth is damaged the entire bridge restoration will also be compromised whereas with an implant the restoration is independent of any of your other teeth. By replacing lost teeth with an implant, no support is required of the adjacent teeth, and hence your natural teeth do not need to be prepared or altered in any way. 


  • Better aesthetics:  If done correctly a dental implant should be indistinguishable from your surrounding natural teeth. Dentures can come loose and look un-natural if they do not blend with your gums and some bridges and dentures have unsightly metal clasps to hold them in place. Dental implants provide a much better cosmetic and functional end result.


Is there a period of time during the procedure that I am missing teeth?


No, you will not be required to go without teeth during the time of treatment. Many times the implant will be immediately restored with a tooth. If a longer healing time is required, temporary teeth will always be utilized to give you a natural appearance and provide proper function.


Am I a candidate for dental implants?


In the case of missing teeth, dental implants are commonly the treatment of choice. A few medical conditions preclude the use of dental implants. Studies show that smoking will increase the likelihood of implant rejection. Uncontrolled diabetics, on-going chemotherapy, radiated and medically compromised patients can reduced the success of implants or it might not be an option. Dr. Romero will evaluate these factors and risks on the initial consultation.


How much does a dental implant cost?


Total fees will depend upon the number of teeth missing, the location in the mouth and number of implants required. It’s not always necessary to have an implant for each missing tooth. When using an implant to replace only one tooth, the cost is comparable to that of fitting a permanent fixed bridge.


What factors can influence in the healing process of an implant?


The most critical factor in the success of dental implant supported restorations relates to the healing potential of the natural structures following the procedure. Uncontrolled diabetes, history of radiation of the head and neck area, and hypothyroidism will act to limit the healing potential and therefore alter the anticipated success of dental implant therapy.  Success rates for patients who smoke have been shown to be 10% lower than healthy non-smokers due to a diminished healing capacity. When a concern arises regarding the healing potential, the time between the placement of the dental implant and the placement of the definitive restoration may be extended in order to provide the greatest opportunity for success.

Multiple teeth






Replacing Several Teeth


If you are missing several teeth, implant-supported bridges can replace them. Dental implants will replace both your lost natural teeth and some of the roots.

What are the advantages of implant-supported bridges over fixed bridges or removable partial dentures?

Dental implants provide several advantages over other teeth replacement options. In addition to looking and functioning like natural teeth, implant-supported bridges replace teeth without support from adjacent natural teeth. Other common treatments for the loss of several teeth, such as fixed bridges or removable partial dentures, are dependent on support from adjacent teeth.

In addition, because implant-supported bridges will replace some of your tooth roots, your bone is better preserved. With a fixed bridge or removable partial denture, the bone that previously surrounded the tooth root may begin to resorb (deteriorate). Dental implants integrate with your jawbone, helping to keep the bone healthy and intact.


In the long term, implants are esthetic, functional and comfortable. Gums and bone can recede around a fixed bridge or removable partial denture, leaving a visible defect. Resorbed bone beneath bridges or removable partial dentures can lead to a collapsed, unattractive smile. The cement holding bridges in place can wash out, allowing bacteria to decay teeth that anchor the bridge. In addition, removable partial dentures can move around in the mouth and reduce your ability to eat certain foods.