Dental implants are the nearest thing you can get to natural teeth. Missing teeth can be embarrassing, especially if they can be seen when you laugh, talk, or smile. Having one or more missing teeth can also make it hard to eat and cause oral health problems. Dental implants can help you eat, laugh, talk and smile with confidence.
As permanent solutions for missing teeth, dental implants are an increasingly popular alternative to dentures, but many people opt out of dental implants because they don’t understand the procedure. The good news is that getting dental implants may be easier than you realize.
About Dental Implants
In healthy teeth, a sturdy tooth root holds the tooth in position in the jaw; the root of the tooth is below the gum line, and the white crown appears above the gum. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that holds a replacement crown. Dental implants look and function like real teeth.
A dental implant consists of three main parts:
Dental implant – a titanium rod surgically implanted in the jaw
Abutment – connects the implant rod to the artificial crown
Crown – a custom-made tooth-like piece that looks like your natural teeth
Dental implants may be removable, fixed, or a combination of both. You can take removable implants out for repair or daily cleaning; fixed dental implants are exceptionally strong and can support one or more crowns.
Why Dental Implants?
You may be a good candidate for dental implants if you have one or more missing teeth, do not smoke, have a jawbone that has enough bone to hold the titanium post or bone graft, and have an otherwise healthy mouth.
Dental implants offer a number of benefits over removable dentures, bridges, or other options. Benefits of dental implants include a natural look and feel, and improved appearance, comfort, speech, and eating. Dental implants eliminate embarrassment and are easy to care for.
The Dental Implant Procedure Steps
The dental implant procedure involves several steps that take place over the course of several months, which gives oral tissues enough time to heal between steps.
Step #1 – Initial Consultation
The dental implant procedure begins with a consultation, in which you and your dentist or oral surgeon discuss this alternative to dentures or crowns. During the initial consultation, your dentist will examine your teeth and jawbones, and explain the different treatment options.
Step #2 – Site Preparation
Next, the dentist prepares the site and makes room for the dental implant. In some cases, this will involve removing a loose or decayed tooth while preserving as much of the surrounding bone and tissue as possible.
Grafting may be necessary in cases where there is not enough jawbone to support the dental implant. Grafting involves moving bone from the jawbone, other parts of the body, or another source to replace the missing bone in the socket.
Step #3 – Placement of the Implant and Osseointegration
In this step, the dentist implants the titanium post into the jawbone. The dentist creates a flap in the gum to expose the jawbone. Next, the dental professional drills holes into the appropriate location in the jawbone then places the titanium post deep into the bone.
As the jawbone heals, bone tissue fuses together with the titanium post, in a process known as osseointegration. While the process of osseointegration takes several months to complete, it creates a solid base for the replacement tooth.
Step #4 – Placing the abutment
When osseointegration is complete, your dentist may recommend another surgery to place the abutment, which connects the post to the crown. In this step, your dentist reopens the gum to expose the dental implant, attaches the abutment to the post, and then closes the gum around but not over the abutment. This allows the abutment to protrude from the gum line.
Step #5 – New tooth
It typically takes about two weeks to heal from abutment placement. Once your gums heal, your dentist will make more impressions of your mouth and remaining teeth. The dentist will send these molds to the lab, where technicians will custom-make your crown. Your dentist will place your new crown as soon as your jawbone is strong enough to support the full use of your new dental implant.
Step #6 Smile and enjoy
Enjoy smiling, talking, and laughing once again with your new dental implants!
Williams & Daily Dental is a family and cosmetic dentist located in North Raleigh, NC with a team of dedicated dentists enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. We offer dental implants, Invisalign teeth straightening, in-office and home teeth whitening options, and Oral-B electric toothbrushes. Contact Williams & Daily at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.