80% of implants are for single teeth, which is exciting for Dr. David Little, a dentist in San Antonio, Texas because it allows him to place an artificial root, or implant, and build the tooth back to how it was. An implant maintains the bone so it doesn't go away and it feels natural, to bring you back to full function.
If you have a missing tooth and the teeth on either side of it need to be restored, then a bridge is a good option. Even with that, Dr. Little would graft that area to keep the bone from absorbing.
If the teeth on either side don't need treatment, then the implant is definitely the best way to go because it will maintain the bone, which will help the other two teeth, Dr. Little says. Also, restoring that one tooth and not having the other teeth involved is a much better long-term investment.
With improved technology, such as radiographs and cone beam, Dr. Little can go in and literally plan the whole case before he starts. He can see if a patient is a good candidate and if there is enough bone to do the implant. Even if there is not enough bone, there are bone grafting techniques that allow to put the bone back to make the best situation for the patient.
Doing this for 30 years, Dr. Little has seen such advances in technology and techniques that he can actually have a patient come in, remove the teeth, place the implant and place a provisional in so the patient can walk out of there with teeth that day. As this is not the final tooth, after the bone grows around and becomes part of the patient, they come back and Dr. Little uses cad-cam technology to build the final prosthesis that is strong and functional and can really improve one's dentition.
Dr. David Little is a dentist in San Antonio, Texas. For more information on his practice, click here. He is a leading sleep expert with Sleep Better TV, providing online, on-demand, sleep breathing disorder video content. Sleep Better TV is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.