Do you need to have a tooth replaced? Dental implants are becoming the top choice by patients for replacement teeth. Dentists most often recommend dental implants over other options because of their many benefits from their natural look and function to their long term health benefits.
If you’re considering a dental implant and wondering what the procedure entails, here’s a step by step guide to outline the process.
- Consultation. The first step in any dental procedure is a consultation. A consultation with your dentist will include an oral examination, including X-Rays, to determine if you are an ideal candidate for a dental implant. Your dentist will evaluate your existing tooth (if it is still in place) to determine if it can be restored. If an implant is still the best course of action, the next step is to evaluate the density of your jaw bone. The bone must be thick enough to support a dental implant. If your tooth has been missing for a while, the bone may have started to shrink or dissolve in the space where the tooth was. Without sufficient bone density, a bone graft procedure may be needed first. Your dentist will discuss all of this with you and together you will determine the best course of treatment.
- Preparation. If your jaw bone is not thick enough to support an implant, a bone graft procedure will need to be done first. In a bone graft procedure, a piece of bone (either artificial or from somewhere else on your body) will be surgically placed under the gums on top of the existing jaw bone. This bone fragment will fuse with the bone and encourage regrowth so that a dental implant can be placed. It may take a few months for the bone to thicken up enough to be ready for the implant.
- Placing the Implant. When your jaw bone has sufficient mass to support an implant, either with or without a bone graft procedure, the implant root will be placed. The implant root is a titanium post that is surgically inserted into the jaw bone. It fuses with the bone to form a solid hold, which may take a few weeks to a few months. This part of the procedure only requires a small incision in the gums to access the jaw bone. Most patients only require local anesthesia for this step.
- Adding the abutment. After the implant root has sufficiently bonded with the jaw bone, the abutment (connecting piece) can be placed. This involves reopening the gums to attach the abutment to the titanium post. The gum tissue is closed and allowed to heal before the crown is attached to the abutment a few weeks later. This part of the procedure can also be done under local anesthesia.
- Fitting the crown. Impressions are taken to create a realistic looking crown that will match the color, size, and shape of your existing teeth. As long as the crown fits correctly and doesn’t need any adjustments, it can be permanently cemented into place.
Caring For Your Dental Implant
No special care is required for a dental implant. You can simply brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day the way you should do with your natural teeth. Follow good oral hygiene habits and your dental implant should last a lifetime.
What to Do if You Experience Problems
If you have any problems with your dental implant at any point in the process, contact your dentist immediately. Even if it was placed years ago, problems can occur. If your implant becomes loose or painful for any reason, let your dentist know.
Dental Implants at Smile Studio 87
Are you looking for a reliable dentist to place your dental implant? Smile Studio 87 specializes in placing dental implants with accuracy for a lifetime of success. We also offer implant supported bridges and dentures to create a functional, aesthetically pleasing smile.