Dental implants are the most natural option for replacing missing teeth. This is because they’re the only option that replaces the tooth both above and below the gum line, preventing bone loss in the jaw. Here’s what you need to know about the process of getting dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
The term “dental implants” is often used as a catch-all term, but the implants are actually only the titanium posts that get implanted into your jaw. Attached to the implants are abutments, which hold your crowns (or artificial teeth) in place.
During your initial consultation with us, we’ll talk about your treatment goals and assess whether you’re a good candidate for dental implant surgery. We’ll examine your mouth, go over your medical history, and take digital imaging so we have an accurate model of your teeth and jaw and so we can determine if you have suitable bone density to support the implants.
If you’ve already experienced bone loss in your jaw, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not a candidate for surgery. Mini dental implants may be an option for you, or we can perform bone grafting procedures to rebuild your jaw and prevent implant failure.
The next step is the surgical procedure to place the dental implants in your jaw. We numb the area where we’re working and we can also provide sedation to keep you calm and comfortable while we work. A small incision is made in the gum to expose the jaw bone; the titanium posts are inserted and we stitch your gum closed.
The next step doesn’t take place in our office––it takes place in your jaw. Osseointegration is the process in which the implants and jawbone fuse together, creating a secure base for your new teeth. This step is critical for the success of your procedure, so it’s important not to rush it; it may take up to several months.
Abutment and Crown Attachment
The abutment is the piece that attaches to your dental implant above the gum line. It’s usually made with titanium and it acts as an anchor for the crown. We’ll take impressions of your mouth with the abutments in place and then send them to a dental lab to have your crowns made.
Your crowns will be fabricated by skilled dental technicians who match the size, shape, and color of your natural teeth. Once they’re in place, your new teeth will look and function just like your natural ones. With proper care, they’ll last a lifetime.
The beautiful thing about dental implants is that proper care means brushing twice a day for two minutes, flossing once a day, and going to the dentist every six months for cleanings and exams. In other words, care is exactly the same as for natural teeth.