Dental implants are growing more and more popular, and that’s not because they’re a fad. It’s because dental implants are the most effective and natural looking way to replace lost teeth. Wondering about the process? Here’s what happens if you decide to get dental implants.
Assessing the Implant Area
To ensure you are a good candidate for dental implants, your dentist starts with an X-ray and exam of your jawbone. In some cases, especially if you are missing teeth, part of your jawbone may deteriorate. In other cases, your jawbone may not be strong enough to hold an implant due to osteoporosis or other issues. If everything looks good, your dentist will schedule the next appointment. If not, you may have to explore other options or consider a bone graft.
Dealing With Potential Bone Grafts
If you need a bone graft before you get the implants, your dentist will schedule that for you. You can use bone from a tissue bank or another part of your body. That gets placed into the jawbone area during an oral surgery.
Placing the Post
Once your jawbone is ready, the dentist places the post. This is simply a small metal post that will eventually hold a crown or fake tooth. To position the post, your dentist cuts through the gum tissue to reveal the bone. After the post is positioned, your dentist sutures shut your gum tissue over the post.
Putting on the Crown
Usually, several weeks elapse between the time your dentist places the post and adds the crown. During this time period, the post ossifies to the bone. Essentially, it becomes seamlessly connected to the bone. At this point, the post is actually a permanent part of your body. The amount of time this takes varies based on the position of the dental implant.
After everything is ossified, the dentist cuts open your gum tissue to reveal the post. Then, the dentist places a crown on the post. Sometimes called a cap, a crown is basically a small fake porcelain or ceramic tooth.
Adding Additional Teeth
The above step describes the process if you are getting a dental implant for a single missing tooth. If you are missing several teeth, the process is the roughly the same. However, if the missing teeth are in a row, the dentist puts one implant at each end of the area. Then, when it’s time to add the crown, the dentist adds a row of teeth. Basically, there is a crown on either end and a bridge in the middle of the crowns.
Using Dental Implants for Dentures
Dental implants can also be used to hold dentures in place. In these situations, the dentist plants at least two posts in the mouth. Part of each post is allowed to protrude up past the gum line. Then, the dentures simply snap into place on the posts. Many people prefer this option because the dentures fit in more tightly, and they aren’t as likely to slip around.
To learn more about dental implants, contact us directly. At Suwanee Center for Family Dentistry, we offer dental implants as well as a range of cosmetic dental procedures.