3 Dental Replacement Options For A Missing Tooth Next To A Dental Implant

Loss of a tooth usually leads to a dental replacement that will keep neighboring teeth from shifting into the gap, causing bite issues. But some of the replacement options require healthy, natural teeth on either side of the gap or a series of missing teeth around your mouth.

If you only have one missing tooth and there's a dental implant on either or both sides, there are still some dental replacement options available. But the dentist will have to tailor the treatment around your dental implants in some cases.

Dental Implant

The simplest solution is to simply use another dental implant to replace the missing tooth. This new implant doesn't rely on neighboring teeth in any way so your dentist won't have to worry about replacing or modifying the existing implant. And the main potential downside is cost, which might not be an issue for you since you've paid for an implant in the past.

Receiving another dental implant can become trickier if the tooth was lost due to disease- or infection-related decay. That same decay could have caused damage to the underlying jawbone under both the missing tooth and the existing implant. Your dentist will perform x-rays to determine whether your bone is in healthy condition.

If the bone is damaged, you might have to undergo a bone graft ahead of the implant procedure. This adds more healing time to an already long process. If the bone decay did spread under your existing implant, that implant might have to be removed entirely so that the graft can be done in that area, too.

Implant-Supported Bridge

A traditional dental bridge involves bonding artificial crowns to the natural teeth on either side of a missing tooth or teeth. An artificial tooth hangs between those crowns to fill in the gap. But a bridge using a dental implant works in a slightly different way.

Your dentist will remove the crown – or white portion you see above the gums – of your existing implant so that only the jawbone-supported root remains. A custom-fit bridge made of two connected artificial teeth is then crafted to fit the new gap.

This bridge is snapped down over the implant root for stability. The second artificial tooth sits in the other gap above the gum line as it would in a traditional bridge.

Implant-supported bridges are stable and not dependent on the remaining health of a natural tooth in the same way as traditional bridges. And implant-supported bridges can help take the pressure off one implant if the teeth are in an area that takes on a lot of bite force, such as the molars in the rear of the mouth. To learn more about implants, contact someone like Michels & Gauquie Cosmetic and Family Dentistry.