Dental implants are an excellent option for people who have one or more missing teeth. In fact, they are widely preferred over dentures, since dentures are removable, difficult to keep clean, and have a tendency to loosen when speaking and eating. In contrast, dental implants are a permanent solution. The implant post is placed directly in the jawbone, providing a secure connection for the natural-looking crown that’s placed on top. However, before determining whether a person is a good candidate for a dental implant, the dentist must determine whether there is enough space between teeth.
How much space is needed?
The standard size for a dental implant is three millimeters. There needs to be a minimum of 1.5 mm on each side of the prosthetic tooth, between the prosthetic and the natural, adjacent teeth. This means that the minimum width required to place an implant is 6mm.
It’s very important to follow these standard guidelines. When they are ignored, there is an increased risk of dental implant failure. That means the implant will have to be removed. Fortunately, if there isn’t enough space in the gap for a dental implant to be placed, the cosmetic dentist may recommend some options.
What if I don’t have room for a dental implant?
Everyone’s situation is a little different. The best course of action is to see a specialist in dental implants. A dental implant expert can evaluate your particular situation and determine what the right treatment method is. For some people, orthodontic treatment is a good option.
Your dentist may recommend that you get Invisalign aligners. Invisalign will gently shift your teeth away from the gap where the implant will go. This can create enough space to place the dental implant. Invisalign aligners are completely clear, making them the perfect choice for adult patients who wish to avoid the “metal mouth” look of traditional braces.
Sometimes, not having sufficient space between the natural teeth isn’t the only problem for patients. There might be other reasons why you aren’t a great candidate for dental implants. If that’s the case, you might consider getting a bridge instead. A dental bridge will fill the gap in your smile with a completely natural-looking prosthetic. However, it won’t be secured within the jawbone the way a dental implant would be.
Schedule a consultation in Suffolk County
While these are general guidelines for the spacing requirements of dental implants, it’s important to remember that everyone’s mouth is unique. The only way to determine what the best option for you is to consult a specialist in dental implants. At Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot have years of experience working with patients with missing teeth. We may be able to help you even if you’ve previously been told that your mouth has space too small for dental implants.
We also offer sedation dentistry services to ensure your complete comfort during your dental implant procedure in Suffolk County. Call our office in Rocky Point, Long Island to request a one-on-one consultation.
Additional resources on dental implants:
- Mayo Clinic, Dental Implant Surgery, https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/dental-implant-surgery/about/pac-20384622
- Colgate, Single-Tooth Implants, https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/implants/single-tooth-implants