Aesthetically, a single tooth implant can look amazing and is the only option for replacing a tooth where the new tooth will look as if it is emerging from the gums, just like a natural tooth. A single tooth implant is a particularly good option if the teeth adjacent to the gap are in good condition and are healthy and strong.
With an alternative treatment such as a dental bridge, the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth site would need to be cut down, shaped and subsequently crowned to support the bridge. Additionally, when a tooth is missing, the brain tells the bone cells they are no longer needed to hold a tooth so that in time the jawbone shrinks and an unsightly gap may develop underneath the replacement tooth or pontic on a bridge. This area can also be a challenge to clean and therefore, increasing the risk of decay on the adjacent teeth. Bridges have an average life-expectancy of 10-15 years. Therefore, depending on the patient’s age, a bridge may need to be replaced more than once in a lifetime.
Single dental implants tend to be enormously successful. Many people will enjoy them for years or even for life. One of the reasons why they are so successful is because single dental implants are very easy to keep clean as they can be brushed and flossed exactly the same as a normal tooth so there is less risk of the implant becoming infected.
Although in some cases, implants initially can be more costly than a bridge, in the long run, implant therapy can be more cost-effective.