One question we often hear about dental implants is whether it’s possible to place more than one at the same time. The answer is “yes, most certainly.” Your implant dentist will work with you to create the perfect solution for your needs. This flexible approach to treatment is one of the biggest advantages of dental implant therapy.
Single vs. Multiple Dental Implants: How Each Approach Works
Dental implants differ from other forms of smile restoration by using a small titanium fixture embedded in the patient’s gumline itself. This can be used to support a single tooth restoration, which is a very popular option.
However, it’s also possible to place a series of implants across the patient’s gumline to support a multi-tooth restoration. The process may occur in any of the following ways:
- A tooth by tooth approach: this method uses a separate titanium fixture for each restored tooth. This is best reserved for patients whose restoration needs are limited and still retain most of their healthy natural teeth.
- An implant-supported bridge: this is a good way to fill in gaps in the person’s smile. For example, an implant-supported bridge can be supported by two to four implants across the open area. A precision crafted bridge is placed atop the implants that matches the patient’s oral profile perfectly. Unlike traditional bridges, this version requires no healthy teeth for support. It can last from 25 years to a lifetime with basic care.
- An implant-supported denture: Your implant dentist will place a series of implants across the entire row of teeth, usually either four or six. These will be used to support a removable denture. Unlike traditional adhesive dentures, the implant version works just like healthy natural teeth. It cannot come loose on its own and typically last 25 years to a lifetime.
Getting the Most Return on Your Implant Investment
No matter what type of dental implant restoration you choose, enjoying the most advantages from the product does take a reasonable amount of self-care on your part. This should include:
- Brushing and flossing any remaining natural teeth: just follow the same basic steps your dentist recommends for most patients. This means brushing at least twice a day and flossing once daily.
- Avoiding all forms of tobacco: tobacco products contain corrosives and other toxins that can damage your implants and cause many oral health problems. Ask your dentist about new medications to ease tobacco withdrawal symptoms.
- Consume alcohol only in moderation: excessive drinking can have devastating consequences, not only on your oral health but your entire body. If you drink at all, then please use moderation.
- Avoid all forms of illicit drugs: street drugs can contain harmful or even lethal substances. You should also avoid improper use of prescription medicines.
- Take care of yourself: this includes exercise, nutrition, stress reduction, and getting plenty of rest. A healthy body is better able to take care of all its parts, including the bones that support both dental implants and natural teeth.
Dental implants are a great way to start a new life. Talk to your dentist about your smile restoration options during your upcoming appointment. You’ll soon have plenty of reason to smile.
About the Author
Dr. Richard A. Cea has been practicing dentistry for more than 25 years. He is a member of the American Dental Association and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. You can reach his office online or by calling (719) 637-1772.