Dental implants are the only option for replacing missing teeth that replaces the tooth both above and below the gum line, making them the best option we have to offer. With dental implants, bone loss can be prevented and even reversed, resulting in a stronger bite and preserving facial structures. If you’re considering a dental implant procedure, here’s what you need to know.
What Are Dental Implants?
While “dental implants” is sometimes used as a catch-all term, the implants are actually only the titanium posts that are implanted into the jaw. Abutments are attached to the implants, which are used to hold your artificial teeth in place.
The first step in the process is setting up a consultation. During this appointment, we’ll discuss your treatment goals and assess whether you’re an appropriate candidate for dental implant surgery. We examine your mouth, go over your medical history with you, and take imaging so we have an accurate 3D model of your teeth and jaw. This not only helps us determine implant placement, it also helps us determine whether you have sufficient bone density to support standard implants.
If you have already lost bone mass in the jaw, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot get dental implants. Mini dental implants may be an option, or we can perform bone grafting procedures to help rebuild your jaw and protect against implant failure.
Next comes the surgical procedure to place the dental implants in your jaw. Depending on the extent of the work needed, we may provide you with sedation that helps you sleep through the procedure or numb the area where we’re working with local anesthetic and provide conscious sedation options if needed to keep you relaxed while we work. We will make a small incision in the gum tissue to expose the jaw bone, then insert the titanium posts and stitch the gums closed.
This is the word for the process in which your dental implants and jaw bone fuse together to create a secure base for your replacement teeth. This is perhaps the most important part of the dental implant process; without proper osseointegration, your implants are likely to fail. It’s important not to rush this step and to be aware that it can take up to several months.
Abutment and Crown Attachment
The abutment is the piece that is attached to the dental implant above the gum line. Abutments are usually made with titanium; they act as an anchor for your artificial tooth. We will take impressions of your mouth with the abutments in place and send them to a dental laboratory to have your crowns custom-made for you.
Your crowns are fabricated by a dental technician who matches the size, shape, and color of your natural teeth. Once they’re in place, your new teeth will look and function just like the real thing and with proper care, your dental implants will last a lifetime.
The best thing about dental implants is that proper care consists of brushing twice a day for two minutes, flossing once a day, and going to the dentist every six months for routine oral exams and cleaning. In other words, care is exactly the same as it is for natural teeth.