A dental implant is an artificial structure inserted into the jawbone. It has screwlike devices and acts as an anchor for the crown. A device known as an abutment connects the custom-made crown to the dental implant, which fits the patient’s mouth, looks, functions, and feels like a natural tooth.
The two main types of implants are:
It would help to understand that the dental implant procedure is a team effort between the patient and the dental team. Depending on your condition and the type of implant you choose, your dental team will tailor a treatment plan to meet your specific needs.
The procedure requires multiple steps over several months. Before your treatment is complete, you may need the help of different dental professionals, including an oral surgeon and a periodontist.
It is an outpatient procedure performed in stages, with a healing period between stages. The process involves the following steps:
The entire process can take up to nine months due to the time devoted to healing and waiting for new bone growth. Depending on your condition, the materials used, and the type of procedure, your dental surgeon may combine specific steps.
If your jawbone is not strong or thick enough, you may require bone grafting before implant surgery. The chewing action exerts tremendous pressure on the jawbone. So, the procedure would likely fail if the bone could not support the implant. The purpose of a bone graft is to create a solid base for the dental implant.
Oral surgeons cut open the gum to expose the bone. They then drill into the bone before placing the implant metal post deep into the bone. You will still have a gap as you wait for the jawbone to grow and merge with the implant's surface. However, you can ask your surgeon to place a temporary denture for appearance as you wait for osseointegration, which can take several months.
Once bone growth is complete, you may require another procedure to place the abutment where the crown will eventually attach. Abutment placing is a minor outpatient surgical procedure typically done with local anesthesia.
Once your gum heals, your oral surgeon will make impressions of your remaining teeth and mouth. He/she will use them to make realistic-looking artificial teeth. The surgeon will then ensure your jawbone is strong enough to support the use of your new tooth before fixing it onto the abutment.
A missing tooth or teeth can alter your facial shape and throw your bite out of alignment. It can also make you feel self-conscious about your smile. However, you do not have to live with a missing tooth.
A dental implant can restore your smile. Millions of people in the United States have dental implants. More people are choosing implants over traditional bridges, crowns, and dentures.
For more on dental implants, visit Perio Atlanta at our office in Atlanta, Georgia. Call (404) 352-3123 to schedule an appointment today.