Dental Implant Process
Before discussing the dental implant process, it is important to understand what a dental implant is. In order to understand the structure of a dental implant you must first consider the structure of a natural tooth. Human teeth have two parts: the crown, which is the part we see; and the root, which lies beneath the gum line. A dental implant is also made up of two parts: the implant itself, which is fused to the jaw bone beneath the gum line; and the crown, a man-made tooth replica attached to the implant.
Dental Implant Consultation
Dental implants are not for everyone. In fact, in order to be a candidate for dental implants you must have relatively good oral health since dental implants require a certain degree of bone density for support.
Prior to receiving a dental implant, you must first be aware as to whether or not you are a good candidate for dental implants. A consultation is necessary where your dentist will thoroughly examine the site of your missing tooth to determine whether or not enough remaining bone exists to support an implant and crown.
Once it has been determined that there is an adequate amount of bone present you will schedule your implant surgery.
Installing the Implant
Installing the implant is the next step in the process. The dental implant procedure is an outpatient procedure, meaning that it does not require an overnight hospital stay. The installation of the implant will be done while under local anesthesia, which means that you will be awake for the procedure. However, you will be slightly sedated and number and thus the procedure should be virtually pain-free.
The area will be prepped and the implant inserted directly into the jaw bone at the site of the missing tooth. Once the implant is in place you must then allow for two to four months of healing time before the implant becomes integrated into the bone. This period of osseointegration where the implant becomes part of the jaw relies largely on the bone density of the site. The denser the bone, the faster the integration.
Upon allowing time for the implant to integrate you will then return for your second periodontic visit, where you will be fitted for a crown. A crown will be custom made to match your existing teeth and it will be near impossible to tell the difference.
Replacing a Missing Tooth
When it comes to proper oral health replacing a missing tooth should always be a number one priority. No one option is perfect when it comes to tooth replacement, but of the available options (bridges or dentures) a dental implant offers the most natural looking and feelings solution.
If your dentist has recommended a dental implant, you should consider the benefits of all available options. A natural and comfortable smile has the ability to truly change one's quality of life. When you are confident and comfortable with your prosthesis it projects into your everyday life.
If you are missing a tooth or teeth, talk with your dentist today about whether or not you may be a good candidate for dental implants.