A dental implant is a permanent and reliable way to replace a missing tooth or teeth. Implants can also be used as supportive anchors for a denture when a complete denture is undesirable. Essentially, an implant is an artificial root (usually made out of titanium) that is surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone. A fake tooth (crown) made of porcelain or Zirconia is attached to the implant with a special screw called an abutment. Implant crowns look very natural and are often used to enhance a patient’s smile. Dental implants are strong and durable and will last many years. Occasionally, they will have to be re-tightened due to normal wear.
What do dental implants do?
Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth
Keep remaining teeth from shifting
Improve chewing, speech, and digestion
Enhance facial tissues
Support a partial denture
What can I expect?
The process of getting an implant requires a number of visits over the course of a year. An implant consultation is usually scheduled at least six months after a tooth has been exracted to allow your gum tissue time to heal. Once sufficient healing has occurred, x-rays and impressions (models) are taken of your jaw and teeth to determine bone levels and to check available spacing. If your oral anatomy is adequate, the implant will be surgically placed into your jaw bone while you are sedated. It may take up to six months for you to heal properly after you have had an implant placed.
After you have healed sufficiently, you will need to return to take more impressions so that your implant crown can be fabricated by our laboratory. An acrylic temporary crown, which you will be able to wear for several weeks during the time that your permanent crown is being made, will be secured to your implant abutment. At your next appointment, that temporary crown will be removed, and your new permanent crown will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a good and comfortable fit. You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed. Good oral hygiene practices, healthy eating habits, and regular dental visits will extend the life of your new implant.