If you are missing just one tooth, a single implant and a crown can replace both the lost natural tooth and its root.
Advantages of a single-tooth implant
The most common alternative for replacing a single missing tooth is use of a bridge supported by two adjacent teeth. But creating such a bridge requires the adjacent teeth to be ground down — even if they’re healthy and attractive — to provide the necessary support. This puts those teeth at higher risk for later decay.
In contrast, a single implant looks and functions like a natural tooth but typically has no negative impacts on the adjacent teeth. Because the implant replaces the tooth root as well as the crown, it also better preserves the underlying bone. With a bridge, the bone that previously surrounded the tooth will atrophy over time, compromising the attractiveness of the smile.
Single implants have other advantages. Gum tissue around a bridge can recede, exposing the metal base or collar of the bridge and becoming unattractive. The cement that holds the bridge in place also can wash out, allowing in bacteria that can attack the anchoring teeth.