Losing a tooth can be distressing, especially when something happens unexpectedly, such breaking a tooth that cannot be restored. It is even more traumatic when this happens with a front tooth and impacts the natural appearance of the smile.  Fortunately, many patients who experience unanticipated tooth loss can have their smile restored quickly with emergency, same-day dental implants.

Patients’ who are candidates for this procedure experience several benefits with immediate tooth replacement.  Most importantly, the tooth can be replaced with a dental implant and a temporary crown the same day the tooth is removed.  There is less overall treatment time and this leads to a quicker result for patients.


What is the process for immediate tooth replacement?

When a tooth cannot be restored,  it must be removed.  Most patients have the tooth removed by an oral surgeon, who is able to perform a special surgical procedure to remove the tooth, while preserving the surrounding bone. Maintaining as much bone as possible is important for establishing the best possible foundation for dental implants.

Once the tooth is removed, a dental implant can be placed directly into the socket that surrounded the tooth root.  The surgeon will then place bone grafting material to fill in the socket around the implant, aid the regrowth of natural bone, maintain healthy gum tissue, and improve the final result. The final step in this first phase of treatment is attaching a temporary crown and connector post (abutment) to the implant. The temporary crown is usually slightly smaller than the final crown to prevent pressure that could be transferred to the implant when biting or chewing (see illustration below).

It generally takes several weeks for the bone to remodel around the implant,  create a strong biological bond with the implant, and fill in the socket.  Once the bone has fused to the implant, the final crown can be fabricated and attached to the abutment connected to the implant. This final phase of treatment is completed by the patient’s dentist and the dental laboratory technician.


Are you a candidate for immediate tooth replacement?

Advances in dental implant technology over the past decade, such as new implant designs and 3D imaging have made immediate implant placement possible for more patients. However, the procedure is technique sensitive and requires a high level of surgical skill and expertise.  The patient must also have healthy bone and gum tissue for the procedure to be successful.

The location of the tooth being replaced can also be also a factor.  Since front teeth have only one root, the socket is not substantially larger than a dental implant.  However, molars have three roots and therefore, many surgeons prefer to delay placing an implant following tooth removal until the larger socket has time to fill in with bone grafting material. Immediate versus delayed implant placement is something that will be determined by your surgeon and