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A dental implant for one tooth or many?

added on: May 4, 2015

How can a dental implant anchor just one tooth or many?

One of my favorite benefits of dental implants is how versatile they are.  Because of the way implants are anchored in bone, they are are not only as strong as our natural teeth, they’re usually stronger!  Because they are so strong, they can often support more than one tooth.  In fact even in a patient that has lost all of their teeth, we will only use 6-8 implants on each arch to give them new teeth.

Here are some good examples of how we use dental implants every day to give a patient strong teeth again.


 single implant with a crown

(The simplest and most common application of dental implants)




three-tooth bridge on two implants 

(Here we have two implants doing the work of three teeth.  An easy work-load for a typical implant)




 full arch on multiple implants

(These cases can be completed with six or eight implants, depending on the stability of the implants)







Those are the basic categories of implants we use for what we call “fixed” restorations.  This means the teeth are either screwed or glued to the implant(s) and not intended to be removed daily by the patient.

Now we move on to the last category of implant applications, called “removable” restorations.  These can also be called overdentures and they attach or “snap” into place on implants using what are appropriately called attachments.  Attachments come in many different styles, but frequently resemble a snap not so different from the snaps on our clothes.  The teeth can be easily removed by the patient for cleaning.


overdenture on two implants

(while this gives the added support of two implants, a denture still rests on both the gums and the implants.  This is a great solution for someone that can function reasonably well with their dentures, but have a difficult time keeping them in)





overdenture on multiple implants

(These can come in many, many different styles.  There can be ball attachments, bar attachments, snap attachments, and a lot more.)


As you can see, dental implants can be used in many different applications and there are even more than we have talked about here.  The next time you hear your dentist excited about what implants can offer you, you’ll know why!  Contact us if we can answer any more questions for you!

Dr. Crosby