When you’re missing one tooth, it’s reasonable to guess that you only need to have a single implant placed to make your smile complete. However, if you are missing multiple teeth, whether they are consecutive or throughout the mouth, the number of dental implants you’ll need to rebuild your smile is slightly less clear. For this reason, it’s very important to schedule a consultation with an implant dentist to better understand your tooth replacement needs and the options available to you.
The shape and density of the bone tissue varies depending on where it is located. For example, the upper jaw is generally much softer, meaning that placing a titanium post inside of it is more difficult. In order to provide a long-term solution for missing teeth in this region, multiple implants are needed, especially if the entire arch is being replaced. There are also large sinuses in the upper jaw, which are essentially air-filled spaces where dental implants cannot be placed. The longer a person is missing a tooth, the more these sinuses expand, making it even more difficult to place dental implants.
Alternatively, dental implants in the lower jaw are much easier to place because this region contains far more thick portions of bone. That means fewer implants are needed to confidently hold the same number of teeth.
Available Bone Tissue
Much like a signpost needs ample dirt to be held in place, a titanium post needs enough bone tissue to remain secure. The moment a tooth is extracted, the bone tissue that held it in place can begin to break down (or atrophy), making it more difficult to keep implants in place. This is why many implant dentists will try to place implant placement the same day a tooth is extracted.
If plenty of healthy bone tissue is available, fewer dental implants are needed to replace the same number of teeth. If teeth have been missing for a long time, more bone tissue has likely diminished, meaning more implants are necessary.
Implant Bridges vs. Implant Dentures
In the case of multiple consecutive teeth, an implant bridge is generally recommended. This type of tooth replacement can use anywhere between two to three implants depending on the number of teeth missing and their location.
Implant dentures on the other hand will generally require between four and eight implants in order to replace a full arch. Furthermore, if you’d prefer a removable denture vs. a fixed one, you may only need as few as two implants to keep a denture in place. Fixed ones will typically need a minimum of four to ensure long-term stability.
The best way to know for sure how many implants you will need to rebuild your smile is to complete a detailed consultation with an implant dentist!
About Hulen Dental
The dentists of Hulen Dental are trained to place dental implants entirely in-house, ensuring you can keep your tooth replacement process under one roof. They are experts in replacing any number of teeth and maximizing bone tissue, meaning you receive only as many implants as you need to rebuild your smile. To schedule a consultation, you can contact them through their website.