Sorry for the typo-- I knew you wrote #30 and 31, but my finger must have slipped...
This does not alter the substance of my answer-- you will miss those teeth, so they should be replaced if possible.
The term "implant" refers to a substitute for a natural tooth root that is surgically inserted into the bone. There are several different ways to replace a tooth using an implant, but the most mainstream way is to use a device known as an "abutment
" to form a coupling with an implant, and to make a crown that fits that abutment. Most commonly, one implant fixture is used to replace one tooth.
A fixed bridge, which is a more time-honored way to make a "fixed" (rather than a removable) prosthesis, entails the placement of a crown on the natural tooth directly in front
of the missing space, and a crown on the tooth directly behind the missing space, and suspending false
tooth/teeth between these two crowns. In your case, unless you still have your lower right wisdom tooth and it has good position and long roots, a fixed bridge would not be feasible. (Wisdom teeth typically are not well-suited to providing anchorage for a fixed bridge due to their poor position and short root length, but there are exceptions to this rule.)
Implant service is provided in two stages, usually provided by two different dentists. The surgical phase is often implemented by a surgical specialist (usually either an oral surgeon or a periodontist
), and involves the diagnostic phase (where various imaging techniques, including CT) are used to determine if there is sufficient bone in the right areas to accommodate an implant cylinder. This is followed by the surgical insertion of implant(s) into the jaw bone, after which time is allowed for bone to grow around and anchor the implant. After about 4 months, the implant is surgically exposed, and a "healing cap" is placed to allow a collar of gum tissue to heal. Treatment is then transferred to the prosthetic dentist, who takes impressions
and has a dental
laboratory create the abutments and crowns that will ultimately be attached to the implants. Overall time from start to finish may be as much as 7-10 months, although there are methodologies that (in my opinion, unwisely) skip some of the steps for the sake of expedience and time-saving.
You may not feel comfortable with dentures, but you will never know unless you try. Before the advent of implants, dentures were the only available option, and patients still manage very well with them. Dentists tend to favor implants for a variety of reasons that are irrelevant to patient satisfaction-- for example, some dentists favor treatment solely because it is more innovative and modern, which in itself is not a legitimate reason. You should discuss all your options with your dentist, and seek a second opinion if your dentist seems to be overly infatuated with the idea
of implants, rather than their appropriateness for you.