James A. DiPerna, DMD
Amber M.S. Foronda, DMD
David C. Hay, DMD, MPH
RIDC/Fox Chapel Office

(412) 963-1911 | View Map

Warrendale Office

(724) 262-2333 | View Map

Dental Implants

Replacing a Single Tooth

Replacing a Single Tooth with a Dental Implant

Dental implants are today's treatment of choice for replacing missing teeth. They are long lasting, natural in appearance, and promote jaw health. By working closely with your dentist, we hope to provide you with a functional and esthetic replacement tooth that will last for a very long time.

A natural tooth is anchored into the jawbone by its root. Tooth roots attach firmly to the jawbone and keep your teeth stable when chewing.

Traditionally, if you were missing a tooth, or if one needed to be extracted, the healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth would be cut down and used as supports. A three unit “bridge” would then be inserted to restore the supporting teeth and replace the missing tooth. Because all three teeth are one single piece, a bridge can be difficult to clean and presents other challenges as well.

Dental implants are the modern alternative. Instead of cutting down two perfectly healthy teeth, your periodontist inserts a dental implant into the jawbone to replace your missing tooth root. As it heals, the implant becomes solidly fixed into your jawbone (a process called osseointegration). Once the implant is ready, your referring dentist then places a crown onto this dental implant that looks, feels, and functions like your natural tooth. Dental implants stand alone and do not rely on your natural teeth for support.

Put simply, dental implants are the most natural replacement for missing teeth. The video below explains the benefits of a dental implant compared to a traditional bridge.

Immediate Implants and Immediate Loading

In certain situations, the dental implant can be placed at the same time as the tooth extraction (immediate implant). Your periodontist may recommend this in certain situations,but may advise against it in others. The extensive, residency training of our periodontists helps them to make the best recommendation for you. It is also possible in some cases to insert a temporary crown onto your newly placed dental implant (immediate loading). As always, your referring dentist will be intimately involved in this process. Immediate implants and immediate loading are techniques that can significantly decrease your treatment time and allow you to get your final crown sooner. Please feel free to discuss with your periodontist to see if you are a candidate for these techniques.