Dental Implant Treatment Options
Dental implant history dates back further than you might think. The first dental implant, which was made of sea shells, is believed to have been implanted about 1400 years ago by the ancient Mayans. In the 1700s lost teeth were sometimes replaced, usually unsuccessfully, with teeth from human donors. In the 1800s gold, platinum and other metal alloys were used, but long-term success rates were extremely poor.
Today, Dr. Jeffrey Lee can offer his patients success rates for individual dental implants of at least 98%.
Implants for single-tooth replacement
In the 21st century the best treatment option for a single missing tooth that is surrounded by healthy natural teeth is a single-tooth dental implant. A dental implant single-tooth restoration avoids the need to alter healthy adjacent teeth and replaces the support that was lost with the missing tooth.
The dental implant is placed in the position of the missing tooth by Dr. Lee. After the implant stabilizes in the jaw a permanent crown will be placed to complete the procedure.
An additional advantage of an implant is the prevention of bone loss. When teeth are missing, the jawbone loses the stimulus created by constant chewing pressure. This causes the bone to shrink in volume as it gradually resorbs (absorbs again) into the body.
Fixed bridges vs. single-tooth implants
Dental bridges are an alternative treatment option. However, in using a dental bridge healthy adjacent teeth must be cut down and a crown placed in order to support the replacement tooth. With a single-tooth implant your healthy teeth are preserved.
In the long-term, dental implants are easier to keep clean and maintain a more aesthetic appearance than a bridge. Gums can recede around a bridge revealing its metal base, and resorbed bone under the bridge can cause a gap and an unattractive smile.
Getting your tooth replaced
Getting a single implant placed can be a fast and minimally invasive procedure, which can be completed using local anesthesia. Your first step is a consultation with Dr. Lee so he can evaluate your situation.