Dental Implants – Before & After
All natural teeth have a crown, which is the exposed part of the tooth above the gum line, and a root, which is the part of the tooth under the gum line. When a tooth is missing, a dental implant takes the place of the missing tooth root and a replacement tooth prosthetic fits over this dental implant to replace the tooth’s natural crown.
The Dental Implants Procedure and Process
The dental implant process is the same whether one tooth is missing, or if all teeth need to be replaced. In our example below, we outline the process for a single tooth replacement when it comes to dental implants.
Preparing the dental implants site
The dental implant site is prepared by first exposing the bone area where the dental implant will be placed. In some cases where there isn’t enough bone structure to attached the dental implant, bone grafting may be recommended.
Once the bone has been exposed, a special drill is used to prepare the bone material for the dental implant.
What if you have to have a dental bone graft?
The purpose of a bone graft is to increase the amount of bone for the dental implant site. If there isn’t enough bone, the dental implant will not seat properly to heal as needed. During the grafting procedure material is placed in the implant area where the body absorbs it and replaces it with natural bone. This process stabilizes the dental implant area and also may slightly increase bone matter in this area.
Dental Implants Placement
After preparation of the dental implant site, the oral surgeon will place the dental implant and suture the area to promote healing of the affected area.
The Dental Implants Healing Process
Depending on the extent of the dental implant process, and the patients overall health, healing of the implant site can take anywhere from a 2-6 months. During this time the bone in the jaw will heal and fuse to the dental implant making it permanent.
Sutures placed during the dental implant placement process are usually ready to be removed within 1-2 weeks.
Attaching the Post
Once the gum tissue has healed, a special post, usually titanium is attached to the new implant. This post acts as support for the new prosthetic tooth.
Placing the Prosthetic Crown
Impressions will be taken of your mouth at this time to make your new crown (replacement tooth). This crown will be made to fit over the newly installed post(s) and is colored to match your natural teeth. Before leaving, many times you will receive a “temporary crown” often referred to as an “immediate”.
Within a few days to a week, your permanent crown will be ready for installation. The temporary crown will be removed and your new crown cemented into place.
The Completed Dental Implants
Once your final crown has been placed, it will look and act as a natural tooth.
Are Dental Implants Right For You?
Dental implants often are incorporated into an overall treatment plan by your dentist. In some cases this treatment plan may incorporate replacement of a single tooth or many teeth. In almost all cases the procedures above will be the same.
There are many options available when it comes to dental implants. It is best to consult a qualified and expert dental implant specialist to find out the best options for your specific needs.