Last medically reviewed by Dr Sam Jethwa: October 15, 2020
A number of reasons can cause you to lose a tooth.
Whether it is an accident, injury, an infection or gum disease, a missing tooth can affect the aesthetic of your smile.
If a missing tooth is stopping you from smiling, then a individual implant is the most effective option.
This is because it can help to regain your confidence, rebuild and restore your smile.
What is a single implant?
An implant replaces the tooth and its root.
It is a metal post which is surgically placed into the jawbone to support an artificial tooth, bridge or denture.
It looks like a natural tooth and is just as solid and strong.
Though they are more expensive than removable dentures or bridges, they are the most long-lasting and durable missing tooth replacement.
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Do I need one?
An implant is a recommended and natural-looking solution for:
- Missing teeth
- A loose or decayed tooth
- A broken or cracked tooth
- A tooth damaged by trauma or injury
What happens if I don’t replace a missing tooth?
If you do not replace a missing tooth, there are a number of risks:
- The teeth either side will move into the gap and will become crooked.
- Sensitivity, problems chewing or biting due to a misaligned bite.
- Self-consciousness about your smile.
How long does the treatment take?
This is to ensure that the mouth is in the best condition possible to place the implant.
If an extraction is needed, then a 2-4 month healing period is usually required before an implant is fitted to avoid any problems further down the line.
However, it is possible for treatment to be much shorter if the bone quality is good enough.
It is sometimes possible to extract a tooth (if needed) and fit an implant in the same appointment.
See: Teeth in a day.
The difference: Single implants vs bridges
Both are non-removable replacements for missing teeth, and visually there is also little difference.
However, the main benefit of an implant is that it does not use or impact the neighbouring teeth, whereas bridges often require reshaping of the adjacent teeth.
Though dental bridges are immediate because surgery is not required, Implants are incredibly durable and reliable, and they last a lifetime, so they are worth the short wait!