Dental implants allow you to flash that beautiful smile again by permanently replacing missing teeth with artificial yet the most natural-looking teeth.
It requires less maintenance and fits perfectly without any discomfort, making it more preferable than dentures.
Here’s an outline of a typical dental implant procedure which would give you an idea of how it’s done:
The initial step is the thorough evaluation by your trusted dentist if you require a dental implant. The decision for a dental implant arises when you have one or more missing teeth, a jawbone that has reached its full growth, and unable to wear dentures or bridges or looking for the best alternative.
A good candidate has strong jaw bones for ample support for the implant. Otherwise, a patient may require a bone graft put in place of the missing tooth. You must also have healthy oral tissues, no health conditions that may affect bone healing, and must be willing to go through a lengthy process.
The dental implant procedure would usually take place in a dentist’s office. Local anesthesia is sufficient for most outpatient procedures but in some cases, patient sedation with the use of oral of intravenous method or nitrous oxide may be used and may be therefore performed in a hospital.
A jawbone that’s not thick enough or are too soft would require grafting before undergoing the dental implant procedure.
The powerful chewing mechanism your mouth implies great pressure on the jawbone, and if it is unable to support the implant, then the entire procedure would most likely fail without a solid base to cling on. A bone graft creates this solid foundation for a secure dental implant.
In this process, a piece of bone is extracted from some other area of your jaw or part of your body, then transplanted into your jawbone. This could take up to nine months just like pregnancy would consume, to give birth to a new bone. This would be a jawbone that has grown strong enough to hold a dental implant for good, just like a natural tooth’s root.
In the actual placement of dental implants, holes are drilled into the bone and a thin titanium rod or metal post is utilized.
It is attached to the jawbone right under the gumline where the missing tooth was once attached. This rod acts as the root of the tooth. This stage of the dental implant procedure is comprised of surgically burying the implant which protects it from force while it undergoes healing. It is essential for the rod to fuse with the jawbone, which may take a period of several months time. During this timeframe of usually around 6 months, a temporary crown may be placed over the rod.
This long fusion process is referred to as osseointegration, which makes your dental implant ultimately a part of your mouth just as your natural teeth are.
The next thing your dentist does is connect a post called the abutment, which penetrates through the gum within your mouth. Abutments come in a myriad of forms and may be brought from manufacturers or molded in a laboratory especially for you.
The gum is left to heal around the abutment and what is pertained to as a cuff or collar which the dentist would have access through to get to the implant for final restoration.
At the end of the healing period, the implant would have to be surgically exposed through the removal of some overlying gum. An abutment can sometimes be placed at the same time as the implant, which eliminates the need for the second surgery.
Once your dentist establishes that the titanium rod has completely and properly fused into your jawbone, the integration is deemed successful.
The final restoration is bound to take place. It would be the last stage where prosthetic teeth are fabricated and connected to the osseointegrated implants.
Implant restoration involves the placement of a permanent dental crown. A customized dental crown will then be attached on top of the implant. Your dental implant is designed to blend with your other teeth that it would seem like you never lost a tooth in the first place.
Undergoing a dental implant procedure would sensibly require time for recovery, which would take around 10-14 days. Stitches are removed after about 10 days, if any, because some stitches just dissolve on its own. By now, you would surely be confident enough to smile with your perfect teeth.