When a dentist recommends that patient receive dental implants, several questions may arise in the patient’s mind. Why is this necessary? How long will it take? What can I expect from this surgical procedure? Understanding the basics of how implants work is the first step to the improved quality of life that results after this minor procedure.
What Is a Dental Implant?
Implants are usually prescribed to replace one or several teeth that are missing, leaving a space in the gum line. Missing teeth can result from injury, age, disease, or a variety of other factors. Rather than leaving the space empty, dental implants secure a replacement tooth to the jawbone. This allows the patient to use the replacement tooth just as she would have before, without pain or discomfort.
The implant itself is called an abutment, and is secured in the bone to replace the tooth root. A replacement tooth or crown is then attached to the abutment, giving the appearance of a completely natural tooth.
Before Dental Implant Surgery
Before surgery, a dentist such as dental implants toronto will need to perform a full dental examination to ensure that the patient is a good candidate for implants. First, the patient’s lifestyle, medical history, oral hygiene, and treatment options are discussed to determine the best course of action for each individual. Then the dentist will assess the areas of missing teeth and the quality and density of the jaw bone in that area. This may include taking X-rays, CT scans, or model impressions of the remaining teeth. This step will determine if additional procedures such as bone grafting may be necessary prior to dental implant surgery.
Procedure for Dental Implants
After administering local anesthesia, the implant is surgically inserted into the bone, below the gum line. In a staged surgery procedure, the implant is then allowed time to heal before moving to the next phase of surgery. There are one-stage surgeries also available, in which the entire implant is done at once.
After being certain that the implant has been successfully integrated into the jaw bone, an abutment is added, which protrudes from the gum into the mouth. In a staged surgery procedure, the gum is again allowed time to heal around the abutment before a prosthetic tooth is secured on top. In a one stage procedure, a temporary implant and abutment piece can be placed together and will remain for up to 6 months while the bone is healing and a permanent implant-supported bridge is made.
After Dental Implant Surgery
Following the recommended healing time, the dentist will check to ensure the healing process has completed normally. Dental implants require no additional care besides regular brushing and flossing, just like natural teeth.