A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, decay, an injury, or some other reason.
HOW IS THE IMPLANT SURGERY PERFORMED?
First, the implant, a cylinder shaped titanium root is placed into your jaw using a small incision. Your mouth will numbed/frozen using local anesthetic and the procedure generally takes less than an hour. Over the next two to three months, the implant and the bone are allowed to bond together to form an anchor for your artificial tooth. You may have a removable or a bonded tooth to replace your missing tooth for this healing period. Occasionally a short uncovering procedure is needed to access the implant, which can get covered when the gum tissue overgrows.
Finally, a replacement crown will be created for you by taking an impression or mold of your teeth and exact position of your implant. This custom built crown will be fitted securely to your implant.
Every case is different, and some of these steps can be combined when conditions permit. We will work with you to determine the best treatment plan, the sequence and the number of visits needed. If you are anxious about treatments please let us know as we offer numerous options to make you more relaxed (see sedation section).
SINGLE TOOTH REPLACEMENT
If you are missing a single tooth, one implant and a crown can replace it. A dental implant replaces both the lost natural tooth and its root.
In addition to looking and functioning like a natural tooth, a dental implant replaces a single tooth without sacrificing the health of neighboring teeth. The other common treatment for the loss of a single tooth, a bridge, requires that adjacent teeth be ground down to support the cemented bridge.
Because a dental implant will replace your tooth, the bone is better preserved. With a bridge, some of the bone and gum that previously surrounded the tooth begins to shrink away and this can be cosmetic problem later. Dental implants integrate with your jawbone, helping to keep the bone and gum healthy and intact.
Resorbed bone beneath the bridge can lead to an unattractive smile. And, the cement holding the bridge in place can wash out, allowing bacteria to decay the teeth that anchor the bridge.