If you have lost a tooth or have a tooth that is failing, you need to replace that tooth right away. Although there are several options available, none offer the permanent, worry-free solution a dental implant does. Single tooth replacements in Tulsa, OK, are used to replace the root of a missing tooth and then a connector (abutment) is custom fabricated for the correct esthetic and functional position for the final crown to replace the tooth itself.
Even though you cannot see your missing tooth, the fact that it is gone has the potential to affect your smile. Neglecting to replace a lost tooth can lead to a variety of problems, including periodontal disease (gum disease), tooth decay, movement of your other teeth and bone loss.
When the teeth shift, they become misaligned. This misalignment puts additional stress on your remaining teeth. Misalignment can lead to headaches and jaw pain. Also, within a year of losing a tooth, about 25 percent of the bone that supported it has already been resorbed back into your body.
Today, technological advancements have made it possible for most patients to have their implant and a temporary crown placed the same day; however, if your tooth was lost some time ago, you may need a bone graft. A bone graft is used when the bone in the jaw is not thick enough or is too soft to retain a dental implant. If bone graft is necessary, depending on the type and volume of graft needed, we may still be able to place the implant at that surgery or we may delay the implant placement for 4-6 months to allow the bone time to mature, heal and harden. Each patient is different and Dr. Ward will listen to your goals, concerns and risk tolerances and together you will define the treatment plan you desire.
After Dr. Ward creates an incision in the gum tissue, sequential osteotomies (small holes that increase in diameter with each drill) are performed to prepare the bone to receive the implant. This implant has threads on the outer surface to “screw” it to the bone for initial stability. It replaces the root of the tooth.
During the healing phase, one of 3 options will occur depending on many factors that Dr. Ward will determine. We will either connect to the implant the day of surgery with a temporary abutment and crown, we will put a healing abutment on the implant which will allow the gums to shape to the final tooth shape, or we will put a cover on the implant and your gums will grow over it and will appear as if there is a missing tooth for a few weeks.
If the implant is covered after surgery, the implant will have to be accessed. Many times the gum tissue needs minor surgeries to make ideal esthetics or resilient gum tissue (attached gingiva) around the implant crown. This is accomplished at the time the implant is uncovered and generally takes a couple of weeks before we are ready for the impression to make the final abutment and crown for the missing tooth.
The jaw bone will begin integrating with the dental implant’s surface: This process is called osseointegration and can take several months. Once osseointegration is complete, Dr. Ward will remove the temporary crown and the healing abutment. The permanent abutment is attached to the top of the dental implant and your custom-made crown is attached to the abutment.
If we did not use a healing abutment, the gingival tissue above your implant will need to be opened before your permanent abutment and customized crown can be placed. Although this is a minor surgery, it only requires the use of local anesthesia.
Once your crown is placed, the abutment is not visible because the crown actually encases it. Single tooth replacements in Tulsa, OK, are helping people keep their teeth from shifting after an extraction or the loss of a tooth.