Dental Implant Process
A dental implant is a metal device designed to replace missing teeth. The device is usually made out of titanium and is surgically placed into the jawbone where the tooth is missing. Unlike a dental bridge, an implant is permanent.
Crowns and conventional bridges or dentures may not be your only options when replacing missing teeth. For some people, dental implants offer a smile that looks and feels very natural. Surgically placed below the gums over a series of appointments, implants fuse to the jawbone and serve as a base for individual replacement teeth, bridges or a denture.
Implants offer stability because they fuse to your bone, a process called osseointegration. Integration of the implants into your jaw also helps your replacement teeth feel more natural. Some people also find the secure fit more comfortable than conventional substitutes. Candidates for dental implants must have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant.
Reasons For Dental Implants
• Replace a missing tooth
• Maintain healthy bone levels
• Help support overdentures
• Keep the look and feel of a real tooth where one is missing
What does a dental implant involve?
Implant Site PreparationThe gum tissue is opened to expose the bone area where the implant will be placed. In situations where there is insufficient bone structure, bone grafting may be a recommended procedure. Once healthy bone material has been established, a special drill is used to prepare the bone to receive the implant.
Placing the ImplantAfter the bone has been prepared, the implant is placed and the tissue is sutured. The healing process takes three to six months. This is the amount of time it usually takes the implant to become part of the lower jaw, commonly referred to as osseointegration. Even though it takes so long for osseointegration, the sutures are typically removed seven to fourteen days after surgery.
Attaching the PostWhen the gum tissue is ready, a special post is attached to the implant. It is the support for the new porcelain crown. Today's technologies often include zirconium abutments attached to the implant post, to assure that the new porcelain tooth possesses translucency properties similar to a natural tooth.
Placing the CrownAfter impressions are taken a crown is made and shaded to match your existing teeth. The crown is then slipped over the post and cemented. This final prosthetic crown appears as a natural tooth.
There is a high rate of failure of implants in patients who smoke, so dental implants tend to not be an option for patients who are actively smoking. Our doctors will help you determine whether dental implants will be a good tooth replacement option for you. Proper brushing and flossing will maximize the longevity of your new dental implant.
For more information about whether dental implants are the right option for you, call our office to set up your initial consultation with our Cooley Smiles doctors today.
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