Achieving Good Dental Health Can Be Easier than You Think

Two-Stage Vs. One-Stage Dental Implants: What's The Difference And Which Is The Best Choice To Replace Your Missing Tooth?

Dental implants are one of the best ways to replace a missing tooth — they're very easy to care for and they're extremely durable. If you've been doing research on implants, you may know that there are two procedures available for replacing a lost tooth with an implant: a two-stage procedure and a one-stage procedure. What's the difference? Read on for an explanation of both procedures and how to tell which one is the right option for you.

The Two-Stage Implant Procedure

The two-stage dental implant procedure was the first to be developed, so let's begin there.

During the first stage, a dental surgeon places a titanium post into your jawbone at the area where you have lost your tooth. Once placed, the titanium post undergoes a process called osseointegration — it fuses with the natural bone of your jaw in order to create a very stable bond. The titanium post replaces your tooth's natural root and provides a secure anchor on which to place the cosmetic dental crown.

However, the dental crown can't be placed directly onto the titanium post — instead, it needs to be connected to the post with an abutment. An abutment acts similarly to a screw, and it keeps the dental crown secured tightly to the titanium post.

The second stage of the two-stage dental implant procedure is when the abutment is placed. Once the titanium post has fully integrated with your jawbone, a dental surgeon will perform another surgery in order to expose it and place the abutment on it. Once you have healed from this surgery, your cosmetic dentist will place the dental crown on this abutment and restore your lost tooth.

The One-Stage Implant Procedure

The single-stage dental implant procedure differs in a slight way that allows you to avoid the second surgery. In this procedure, the abutment is placed on the titanium post during the first surgery. Once the post has undergone full osseointegration, your dentist simply places the restorative dental crown on the existing abutment — there's no need for additional surgery to expose the post in order to place an abutment on it.

Which Procedure Is the Right Choice for You?

Both the two-stage and the one-stage dental implant procedures restore your tooth with a strong, stable implant, but some people may not be good candidates for a one-stage implant.

The primary consideration is the health of your jawbone. It's very important for the implant post to fully integrate with your jawbone in order to provide a secure base for the eventual restorative crown. The one-stage dental implant procedure exposes the implant to very slight biting forces because of the exposed abutment.

While slight, these biting forces may be enough to slightly shift the titanium post out of position. The risk is increased if your jawbone in that location has begun to deteriorate or if you have diabetes or if you're a smoker. In this case, your dentist may wish to opt for a two-stage dental implant in order to fully protect the titanium post while it integrates with your jaw.

You may also have cosmetic concerns about the one-stage procedure. The abutment is slightly visible within your mouth — it looks like a small piece of metal protruding from your gums. If you're using an implant to replace a front tooth, you may wish to opt for the two-stage implant procedure in order to avoid showing the abutment whenever you smile.

If your bone is healthy and you don't have cosmetic concerns about the abutment, then the one-stage implant procedure allows you to avoid needing a second surgery along with its associated healing time — you'll be able to restore your tooth faster. Additionally, avoiding the second surgery often makes a one-stage implant less expensive than a two-stage implant.

How do you know if your bone is healthy or not? The first step is to schedule an appointment with a cosmetic dentist. He or she will take dental X-rays to examine your jaw health, and you'll have the chance to ask if a one-stage dental implant is a suitable option for you.