The Dental Implant Process
Dental implants are incredibly popular because they are a durable way to replace missing teeth. The process, however, can be long. If you would like to know more about dental implants and the entire process from start to finish, keep reading.
You may need a tooth extracted for a variety of reasons, including:
- Severe decay
- Isn't fully erupted
If the crown is severely broken or the tooth is not fully erupted, you may need a surgical extraction, which requires a small incision in the gums to access the entire tooth. Ideally, you get your implant soon after extraction to prevent jawbone atrophy.
If the jawbone does atrophy, you may need a bone graft to strengthen the jawbone. This allows the jawbone to better support the implant. Your jawbone may atrophy due to tooth loss and gum disease. During the graft, the dentist uses synthetic bone, cadaver bone, or bone from another part of your body.
You'll have to wait for the bone graft to fully heal before the dentist can place the implant. However, once installed, the implant simulates your jawbone like natural tooth roots, preventing the risk of future atrophy.
Technically, the implant refers to the artificial titanium root that sits fully in your jaw. You should not be able to see the implant. The implant is drilled into your jawbone, so it can cause discomfort and tenderness after treatment. Once planted, the area is left to heal over. The gum tissue will naturally heal over the implant.
Once the titanium implant is secure, the dentist makes a new incision in the gum tissue to access it. They place the abutment, which is then topped with the crown (the visible portion of the tooth). The crown is durable and made from porcelain and metal. The porcelain looks like natural tooth tissue, and it can be color-matched to the rest of your teeth.
After you have your implant, you need to maintain it to prevent implant failure. Luckily, the best way to do this is with regular oral health care and hygiene. The implant won't decay, but the gum tissue can still develop gum disease, which can wreak havoc on the implant.
If you have missing teeth or need a tooth extracted, consider dental implants as a replacement option. They don't use other teeth for support, and they are fixed, unlike dentures. If you would like to know more about dental implants, contact a dentist today.