When you are missing a single tooth, your options are pretty straightforward. To read about the choice of a single dental implant versus a dental bridge, see Dr. Chal's replace one missing tooth page.
Teeth in an hour -
With new precision computer technology, you can have have your implants placed and restored in the same appointment. Not everyone can be a candidate for teeth in an hour, but it is usually an option.
A Snap-on Denture can be done with as few as two implants. This is an entry-level treatment which can later be upgraded to a higher level. Since the cost is usually directly related to the number of implants placed, this is the least costly option. But it is an excellent upgrade from a completely removable full denture
because it is stable and provides very good function.
This is a model of a snap-on denture. With only two dental implants, it is the most economical choice. It relies on some tissue support, so there is a possibility of tissue irritation. But it is firmly anchored and will not float or shift in the mouth. The piezoelectric effect of the two implants will prevent bone atrophy around those implants.
To prevent bone atrophy in the entire jaw, you need to upgrade to more dental implants.
Removable bridge -
This is an upgrade from the snap-on denture. With this option, six implants are placed in each arch, with a bar connecting them, and the teeth are fastened to the bar. If your case involves replacing upper teeth, you will like the fact that there will be no need, with a removable bridge, for a plate covering the palate, as there would be with a snap-on denture. This feature will add greatly to your enjoyment of food and will make speaking much easier.
Here is a model of a removable bridge. There are six implants, connected by a bar, and the removable bridge is attached to the bar. The bridge is entirely implant supported, so there will be no tissue irritation. Additionally, it is stable and secure in the mouth, and the multiple dental implants will prevent bone atrophy and facial collapse.
Fixed implant hybrids are another choice, and are an upgrade from a removable bridge. A hybrid replaces teeth and also missing gum and bone tissue. Fixed hybrids have eight to ten implants, and removable hybrids have fewer. Click here to read more about fixed implant hybrids. Click here to see Dr. Chal walk you through a case, showing photographs of each step, using Tom's fixed implant hybrid case as an example.
This is a model of a fixed hybrid. On the left you can see the implants. On the right is the way it would look in place. In this illustration, there are eight implants. There is no flange, no tissue irritation, and it is very comfortable. And with eight implants there is excellent protection against bone atrophy and facial collapse.
Implant-supported crown and bridge - If there is enough bone and tissue, you can have individual teeth and fixed bridges attached to individual implants. This is the highest level of quality, comfort, and function, because it is very close to having your own teeth back.
The new fixed-retrievable implant-borne bridge is an exciting new option that has the comfort and solid feel of your own teeth, but yet has the convenience of being removable by the dentist for maintenance.
Al, on the left, is an example of implant-supported crown and bridge. The expression on his face is a testimony to the great feeling it is to have your own teeth back, after losing them to advanced periodontal disease. To read more about Al, including a warm testimonial, visit his implant smile gallery page.
A closeup of Al's teeth shows how perfectly natural they look. And they feel and function as natural as they look.
Click here for information about dental implant costs.