Dental implants are a permanent and appealing solution to replace missing or extracted teeth. They are better than other alternatives like permanent bridges because no additional teeth need to be altered to place the new tooth. They also help prevent bone loss as bone shrinks when there is no tooth or implant present. They are superior to removable partial or full dentures because they are more stable and function more like your natural teeth.
The entire implant process is typically performed over the course of a few months, however some cases may take longer. First, the implant is placed in the bone where there is a missing tooth or teeth. Think of an implant as a titanium root that replaces the natural tooth root. Multiple implants can be placed at once if necessary. Implants can be used to replace a single tooth or an entire arch of teeth!
The implant must be allowed to heal or integrate for about three to six months, and during this time the bone will form around the implant in a process called osseointegration. During this healing time it is very important to properly care for the implant area. We will go over this in great detail. If the space is located in an esthetic area a temporary tooth can be used.
After the implant has integrated it is time to take an impression for the implant abutment and crown. The abutment serves as the base for your new tooth that will attach the implant crown to the actual implant. The laboratory will fabricate your implant crown. Your implant crown will either be screw retained or cement retained. Once the implant abutment and crown are placed you will have a new tooth to function and smile with!