Replacing a lost front tooth with a dental implant tooth is so effective that no one can tell that you ever had a missing tooth. Dental implants replace tooth structure from the root to the biting surface. Your replacement tooth will look like your new front tooth is emerging from your gums.
What Is a Front-Tooth Dental Implant?
A front-tooth dental implant is an artificial tooth root that resembles a small screw. An implant dentist surgically places the substitute tooth root in your jawbone. A complete implant has three parts—the artificial root, a connector (abutment), and a ceramic crown attached to the connector. Most implants are titanium.
Are You a Candidate for a Front-Tooth Dental Implant?
You may be a candidate for a dental implant for your front tooth if you have good physical and oral health. A consultation and 3-D cone-beam computed tomography (CT) scan will reveal your oral anatomy and bone volume to determine whether you have enough bone to support an implant. Even if you have chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, you may still be eligible for an implant if you control the conditions with medication. If you smoke, your implant dentist will explain why quitting will help your implants succeed.
What Are the Benefits of an Implant for a Missing Front Tooth?
The benefits of replacing a missing front tooth with an implant are related to implant structure. An implant replaces the root of your missing tooth, so the benefits include:
- Stability – Your jawbone will anchor the implant and fuse over time. Your implant will have firm support.
- Bone stimulation – An article published by the American Academy of Implant Dentistry confirms that when teeth are missing, you lose 25 percent of bone in that space within the first three months and up to 50 percent within six months. Implants stimulate the bone and prevent shrinkage, which occurs in areas of missing teeth.
- Aesthetics – Your implant will look like a natural tooth surrounded by healthy gum tissue. A cosmetic dentist can attach a natural-looking crown to the implant that matches the color and characteristics of your surrounding teeth.
- Function – A dental implant for your front tooth will function like a natural front tooth. You can speak and eat with confidence that your implant is stable.
- Longevity – An implant-supported tooth outlasts a partial denture and a dental bridge. Your jawbone becomes the foundation of an implant, so your replacement tooth will last longer.
- Adjacent tooth preservation – Unlike a partial denture or a dental bridge, an implant does not depend on neighboring teeth for support.
- Easy maintenance – You can brush and floss implants the same way as natural teeth.
What Is the Process for Getting a Front-Tooth Implant?
Before you get a front-tooth implant, you will have a consultation with an implant dentist or oral surgeon. After listening to your concerns, the doctor will review your medical and dental histories and complete an oral examination.
A 3-D CT scan will verify whether you have enough jawbone for an implant or require a bone graft first. Your doctor will discuss your treatment options and explain how sedation will keep you comfortable and relaxed. The CT scan and computer technology will help your doctor make a model for precise implant placement.
Dental Implant Procedure
After ensuring your comfort with local anesthesia and sedation, if desired, your doctor will complete these steps to replace a missing front tooth with an implant:
- Tooth removal, if required. If your doctor must remove a decayed or damaged tooth, they may complete bone grafting and implant placement during the same appointment.
- Apply bone grafting material if needed. Your doctor may place the implant on the same day or wait three to six months until the graft heals.
- Use a surgical guide to make an incision through your gums and a precise opening for the implant
- Place the implant in the bone
- Cover the implant site
- Attach a temporary tooth
Recovery After Replacing a Front Tooth with an Implant
Immediately after implant surgery, the staff will take you to a recovery room to ensure you are stable and ready to go home. A staff member will give you post-surgery instructions to promote healing.
Any discomfort you feel after dental implant surgery will be minor. You can expect swelling that peaks within 48 hours. Swelling is your body’s response to surgery and healing. You can minimize it by applying a cold pack to your mouth at 20-minute intervals. You can control any mild bleeding by biting down on gauze or a moist tea bag, which contains tannin to help blood clots form. Take over-the-counter medication or prescription medication as directed to remain comfortable.
Plan to rest at home for the entire day. Afterward, you can resume normal activities while avoiding strenuous exercise or work for a few days because they can dislodge the blood clot.
Initially, you will eat soft foods that do not require chewing to avoid disturbing the implant. Avoid drinking through a straw because it can dislodge blood clots. After two weeks, you can progress to eating soft foods that require minimal chewing. Maintain a soft-food diet throughout the healing process.
It is vital to avoid smoking during the healing process because smoking constricts blood vessels and deters the healing process. The Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Implants confirms that smoking causes bone loss around dental implants at 0.16mm yearly.
Your doctor will allow three to four months for your implant and bone to fuse during osseointegration. You will have periodic checkups to monitor healing and your gum and bone health. Afterward, your doctor will do the following:
- Expose the implant
- Attach an abutment or connector for your final crown and allow time for your gums to form around the abutment
- Take a model of your teeth and abutment for a dental ceramist to craft a custom crown. If an oral surgeon places your implant, a general or cosmetic dentist will provide the crown.
- Send the model and instructions regarding your tooth color and characteristics to the ceramist
- Attach your final front-tooth crown to the abutment
Dental Implants Can Last a Lifetime
High-quality dental implants can last a lifetime. Consult with a cosmetic dentist with advanced dental implant training to discuss your options. In Vancouver, Washington, Dr. Mo Saleh is a Fellow in implantology. Also, he is trained in cosmetic dentistry and completes implant planning, placement, and attaching replacement teeth in his office. He adheres to the highest standards while offering implants at prices that make them affordable.
Dr. Saleh can complete your smile design and help you feel more confident. We invite you to call our office or schedule a consultation on our website to experience Dr. Saleh’s exceptional competence in implantology and compassionate care.