Dental implants can be a solution for a number of problems surrounding loss of a tooth or teeth, such as fractured teeth, extensive decay, accident trauma, or genetically missing teeth. Dental implants are an especially attractive single tooth loss solution, in terms of esthetics, function and finances. In these cases, the dental implant option can remove the need to restore two or more neighboring teeth to support a bridge across the site of the lost tooth. This can be more cost effective because one crown restoration is needed instead of three to create the bridge. In terms of function, a single tooth implant is cared for similarly to a single tooth, which alleviates the extra effort/floss care around a bridge.
When the lost tooth is in the ‘esthetic zone’ (the teeth that show when a person smiles), often the papilla has a chance to grow back and allow for more natural appearance. An additional consideration is the lifespan of a bridge (until it will need repair or replacement) versus that of an implant. This is individualized based on what types of stressors a person puts on their teeth when chewing, grinding, biting, etc. There are many considerations for each individual case and the best options for each one are best explored and discussed in a comprehensive exam and follow up consultation.
One example is Diane’s situation. She had a difficult experience following an extraction with her previous dentist and really wasn’t sure of her options or possible restorations. When Dr. Mastrovich and Diane had completed her initial examination appointment they scheduled for a follow up consultation for a more in depth discussion of her options, as it was clear to Dr. Mastrovich that a team approach would be needed with several additional specialists brought in to restore the area to full function. Dr. Mastrovich and his team thoroughly laid out the advantages and challenges of each of her options:
- Creating a bridge between the two teeth on either side of the extraction site
- Placing an implant in the site and fabricating a single restoration on it, thus leaving the two teeth on either side untouched
- Or do nothing (which is always an option to consider)
After careful consideration of her options, and having the dental education support, she chose to schedule with the periodontist (the specialist in implants) to surgically place the implant and then returned to Dr. Mastrovich for the final restorative crown fabrication, which is Dr. Mastrovich’s area of expertise. Dr. Mastrovich ‘quarterbacked’ her case through each of the phases and referrals to specialists, in order to optimize her final restorative and esthetic results.
If you, or someone you know, is considering implants and needs to know more, or has an implant that needs to be restored and is looking for an expert who can see the ‘big picture’, we are here to help.