A simple step-by-step guide showing how 1 dental implant can be used to replace 2 teeth

Posted on 17th February 2019

When patients lose, or are about to lose a tooth then this can raise issues regarding the ability to maintain effective dental function and also the ability to maintain an aesthetic smile appearance. We use dental implants to provide a long term and stable tooth replacement in such cases.

In some cases a single dental implant can be used to replace 2 adjacent teeth. This is usually the case in the areas at the front of the mouth due to the narrower width of these teeth and also because these teeth are usually subjected to less forces when compared with the molar teeth at the back of the mouth. One of the main challenges when replacing 2 adjacent teeth supported by 1 dental implant is to be make the 2 teeth appear like 2 individual teeth rather than 2 teeth stuck together. I have written blogs explaining the importance of gum shaping when providing aesthetic dental implants (click here) and in these cases gum shaping is significantly important.

In this example we are aiming to provide 2 teeth to screw into the 1 dental implant. The only way that these 2 teeth will look individual is if the contour of the gums is shaped in a way that would be expected around 2 individual teeth. This can only be achieved by performing a highly skilled and technical procedure termed ‘gum-shaping’.

No Gum Shaping has been performed therefore, we have an unsightly and unhygienic area between the 2 teeth and gum interface.
Gum shaping to create the ‘indentations’ to mimic natural tooth shapes and contours.



Final restorations are fitted following careful gum contouring. The purple arrow points to the aesthetic area between the 2 teeth and gum interface. This is hygienic, aesthetic and enable the teeth to appear like 2 individual teeth.

By performing gum shaping, we are able to create the subtle indentations in the gum to turn it from being totally flat to have the ‘U-Shapes’ typically seen around healthy teeth. Once this has been carefully achieved, the teeth will simply fit into these ‘indentations’ in the gum and appear like 2 individual teeth.

Aesthetic dentistry must not be confused with cosmetic dentistry. With aesthetics we aim to provide teeth which look and behave as close to natural teeth as possible. This means that they must not only look like real teeth, but also work and function as effectively as natural healthy teeth. On the contrary, cosmetic dentistry may only improve an individual’s appearance without providing any real substance or improvement in function.

Thank you for reading,

Mohsin Patel BDS MJDF RCS (Eng)

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