Ask An Essex Dentist – Dental Implants

A Downham patient asks about using a dental implant to replace a missing front tooth.

Our last patient question about teeth whitening proved to be popular, and we are continuing this series with a question from one of our patients locally in Downham who asks about dental implant placement to replace a front tooth.

Q. Following a fall the other week, I experienced some pain in one of my front teeth. On having it x-rayed, I have been told that the root of the tooth is cracked and it will likely need to be extracted. I have had teeth out before and am not concerned about this procedure. What does concern me though is having a missing front tooth! I remember my grandmother having dentures and it used to frighten me, as a child, when the front teeth in her mouth used to wobble and I don’t want this to happen. Do you have any suggestions?

If the root of your tooth has cracked and is badly damaged, infections could follow, so extracting it is likely the way forward here. The gap, as you say, would be highly visible though and a replacement tooth is certainly advisable.

I note your concern about dentures, though would say that modern dentures tend to be more secure and realistic and it is unlikely that you would notice the ‘wobble’ that you saw with your grandmother’s teeth. Having said that, dentures do have certain disadvantages such as keeping them clean, an element of restriction on what you can comfortably eat, and the fact that the bone in the jaw may shrink in that area, and it is this factor which can cause loose dentures later on.

In light of the fact that it is a single tooth and one that is highly visible, my recommendation would be to consider a dental implant to replace the front tooth. This would offer a highly realistic and strong option, and, once settled in, cleaning and flossing, along of course with regular checks at the Cygnet Dental Practice, would be all that is needed to maintain a healthy tooth.

I don’t know if you are familiar with dental implants as you don’t mention them in your question, but they are now widely used and are generally accepted to be the ‘gold standard’ for tooth replacement. Essentially, the implant part is placed into the jawbone and acts as an artificial root for the tooth. Once this has fused firmly with the bone, a dental crown is added to give the appearance and feel of a natural tooth.

It should be said that, due to the material used (titanium) this is a relatively expensive procedure, but over time they can prove to be cost-effective compared to other methods. This is because of the relatively minor maintenance needed, other than check-ups, once the implant has been placed successfully.

Whilst we feel that dental implants are preferable to dentures in many tooth replacement cases, I feel that this is particularly the case with a visible front tooth. We do though, want you to feel fully informed about the options available before making your decision and would recommend that you arrange a consultation at our Wickford dentists to discuss these options with one of our dentists.

To arrange an appointment, please call the Cygnet Dental Practice on 01268 733078.