Single implants are an excellent long-term solution for a missing tooth. When considering an implant there are a few things you should discuss with your dentist who will be able to accurately advise whether you are a suitable candidate for such a procedure. If the mouth is healthy and the bone in the jaw and gums around the implant site are in good condition this would suggest long term stability for an implant to thrive.
By replacing a single tooth with a dental implant rather than a conventional bridge, the neighbouring teeth are preserved, and you have invested in a more long-term solution for your smile.
The other common treatment for the loss of a single tooth is a tooth-supported fixed bridge but this requires that the neighbouring teeth be filed down to support the bridge. Whilst this is a practical solution for some, for others a single dental implant is more appropriate as it will replace the tooth root and not affect the adjacent teeth.
As a long-term solution, a single implant can be easier than a bridge to maintain. Gums around a bridge can recede which may lead to a visual defect if the base of the bridge becomes visible. In addition, implants avoid the possibility of bacteria that can build up around the bridge after it is set. A singular dental implant, whilst more expensive than a dental bridge is a long-term solution which avoids the potential risks that having a bridge can lead to.
First, the implant, which looks like a screw or cylinder, is placed into your jaw via a small incision made under local anaesthetic. Over the next three to six months, the implant, and the bone around it are allowed to fuse together to form an anchor upon which the artificial tooth will be screwed. If needed, a temporary tooth replacement option can be worn over the implant site.
Finally, a replacement tooth called a crown will be created for you by your dentist and attached to a small metal post, called an abutment. This replacement tooth will be perfectly sized, and colour matched to suit your teeth and the shape of your smile. This is a long-term solution for your smile with implants lasting longer than bridges and not being as prone to bacteria build up which can lead to decay.