Single Tooth & Multiple Teeth Implants


When you lose a tooth, there are various options you and our prosthodontist, Dr. Friedman might decide to take, and a dental implant has some advantages over other alternatives. Because they look and feel like your own natural teeth, they do not have the slip or discomfort of some dentures; a fact that makes chewing easier. Additionally, they do not require the use of other teeth to hold them in place – which bridges do – so more of your teeth are left intact, improving long-term dental health. Because dental implants are permanent, you never have to worry about removing them in embarrassing situations, or having to go extra steps in keeping them clean. They can improve how you feel about yourself, as well, because your smile looks natural.


You might think of a dental implant as a post along a wooden fence. The post is secured in the ground and links the rails together, creating a strong structure. A dental implant, which is an artificial tooth, replaces a tooth when it has been lost to decay, damage, or gum disease. It is an alternative to a dental bridge, and like the strong, new fence post, creates a strong mouth structure. A dental implant is an alternative to a dental bridge, and the artificial tooth sits atop an implant that acts as a root in your gum and bone, allowing you to chew and smile in a natural and healthy way.


Most people who have otherwise healthy gums and bones are candidates for dental implants. The dentists and hygienists at Bluffton Center for Dentistry will act as a team to devise a program of implant care for you, which will require more than one visit. First, a post — the actual implant, made of metal — will be inserted in the bone beneath the space where the tooth has gone missing. Next, a smaller post will be added to the top, on which the replacement tooth, or crown, will eventually be bonded. The new tooth is modeled by your dentist after the pattern of your other teeth so that it fits your individual bite. Your dentist will also match the appearance of the new tooth – its shape and color – to your natural teeth so that it looks like the real thing.


Here at Bluffton Center for Dentistry, we use titanium or zirconia implants. Both options of implant materials are FDA approved and considered safe. Zirconia is the most biocompatible implant material that is available in dentistry today.

Currently, most implants are two pieces, which gives the dentist more control over the elements and the entire implant placement process. There are one piece implants as well, these have the synthetic tooth root and the abutment connected.


Zirconia is best known for its likeness to diamonds. It is a crystal material that is altered slightly when used in implant dentistry to give it a tooth color.  Zirconia is the crystal form of the transitional metal zirconium and zirconia implants are often marketed as “metal free.” When the zirconium is treated, stabilized and converted into its crystal phase, it becomes a ceramic called zirconium oxide.  It is referred to as zirconia, and technically can be called “metal free”.


Titanium has been used in the medical industry for decades. In addition to dentistry it is commonly used for hip and knee replacements. Dental implants made of titanium have a long term success rate of about 95%. Some patients have had their titanium dental implants in great condition for longer than 30 years. However, there is recent medical research that suggests that zirconia implants may have improved biocompatibility compared to titanium implants.