If you have lost a tooth or are having one extracted, getting a dental implant to replace the tooth is a great, permanent solution. These dental implant basics will help you to understand what the process is like and what you can expect from it.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a metal post that is implanted into the patient’s jawbone. These metal posts are typically titanium, and they are implanted during dental surgery. Once the implant is in place, the bone of the jaw starts to grow around it, securing it and stabilizing it. The dental implant has several parts that are added to it in stages.
Why Get a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are highly durable and permanent. Many implant patients never need to have their implants replaced. The high-quality materials of dental implants make them strong and ready for a lifetime of chewing.
They also keep the bone of the jaw from deteriorating. Without a tooth to hold onto, an empty area of the jaw will start to deteriorate, losing bone mass and changing the way you look. An implant holds that bone in place and keeps it strong.
Dental implants also have a crown that looks just like one of your natural teeth. Unless you tell someone that you have an implant, they would have no way of knowing.
When a tooth is missing, it can be hard to chew, and it can also be embarassing when you talk or smile. Getting a dental implant makes chewing easier, and it gets rid of the potential embarrassment of a missing tooth. Plus, when you can chew easier, you can improve your health by being able to eat healthier foods like fruits and vegetables.
The Dental Implant Process
Step 1 of Dental Implants
A dental implant isn’t completed in just one visit. It takes multiple visits and several months to have the entire implant installed. The first stage is to examine the bone and to make sure that there is enough there to support a dental implant. In many cases, there isn’t quite enough. That’s why bone grafts are common for dental implant patients.
A bone graft is often done when the original tooth is extracted. Then, the graft needs to heal and become integrated with the bone. The area where the tooth was removed also must heal. This can take about six months. After that, patients are ready to have the titanium screw implants.
Dental Implant Stage 2
The implant is installed into the jawbone during surgery. During the installation, the doctor makes an incision into the gums and puts the metal screw into your jaw, right into the tooth socket where the original tooth sat.
You may be given anesthesia to put you to sleep during this process, or you may have only local anesthesia and stay awake during it. It all depends on your individual needs and your specific implant. Once the implant is in, you will need to wait a few months to have the abutment installed. This gives your bone time to grow around the implant to keep it stable. It also allows your gums to heal from the surgery. You will also get your mouth examined to make sure it is healing well.
Part 3 of the Dental Implant Process
The abutment is a piece that attaches to the implanted screw which holds the tooth crown, or false tooth, in place. Once this is installed, there is more healing to do.
The Final Dental Implant Stage
The last stage is to have the crown installed. You may have a temporary crown put into place until yours can be made. This happens after everything is healed up and the implant is steady and stable. The crown will look just like your natural tooth, and you can even pick the color of it to match your other, natural teeth.
Using Your Dental Implant
One of the best things about a dental implant is that it doesn’t take a lot of maintenance. It doesn’t have to be removed and cleaned like a partial, or taken out and re-lined like dentures. It operates just like a normal tooth, and it is taken care of just like one. All you must do to maintain it is to brush it and floss it and use mouthwash as you normally would. The tooth will look great and function just like any of your other teeth. It will make chewing and talking easier, and it will generally stay in place for life.
If you’re thinking about getting implants or already have them and are looking for a great family-oriented practice, just schedule an appointment or consultation today! We look forward to meeting you!