For those who have lost teeth due to injury or periodontal disease, dental implants are life-changing. Though it does require patience from the patient, as it can take up to two years to complete the process, the end result offers immense improvements in a variety of ways.
A dental implant is the mechanical replacement of the tooth root upon which a single crown or another type of prosthesis can be attached. Since the options for multiple teeth replacements can vary greatly, this article concentrates on a single tooth replacement with an implant and crown, and will give you an idea of what to expect.
- The first step in the procedure is evaluating the patient's mouth and mapping out a treatment plan.
- The next step is removing the damaged tooth, if necessary. The procedure doesn't take long and usually only requires a local anesthetic, but a couple of months are required for the area to heal. During the time period through the final phase of treatment, a temporary appliance may be worn to hide the space created by the extracted or missing tooth.
- If the area around the tooth shows signs of bone loss, a bone graft ensures the jawbone is strong enough to hold the implant. Sterilized, freeze-dried human cadaver bone or synthetic bone can be placed in the extraction site to fill the void. This step can take up to nine months of recovery.
- When the jawbone is strong and the gums are healthy, the implant is inserted. It starts with either a local or general anesthetic, then incisions are made in the gum to expose the jawbone. Space is created to place the implant, and the titanium root is locked in place. A temporary cover or cap is applied, and the gums are stitched up to secure it.
- During the next three to five months of recovery, the titanium root fuses to the jawbone in a process called osseointegration, which ultimately makes the implant even more secure than natural teeth.
- Once the implant has bonded properly, a local anesthetic is applied, the gums are drawn back, and the cover or cap is removed. The abutment (a connector between the artificial root and the artificial tooth) is then attached, and the gums are formed around it.
- A crown will be created from a previously-made dental imprint, matching both the shape and color of the other teeth. After another week or two of recovery, the crown is attached to the abutment, and the procedure is complete. The color of the crown is designed to match your teeth, but it will take time for the gingival tissue around the implant to return to its original appearance. This is where patience is required, especially when replacing front teeth.
The procedure is a lengthy one, but a dental implant offers improved appearance, speech, comfort, and self-esteem, while assisting chewing, benefiting oral health, and eliminating any inconvenience of dentures.
If you're considering a dental implant, let's look at your options to see if it's right for you. What we want most is to see you smile. >>Contact Us