What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is an artificial root that is placed in the bone to support either a crown or a denture. In the right circumstances, dental implants can be a great option for replacing missing teeth. In order to determine if a patient is a good candidate for an implant, our dentist will assess the teeth on either side of the space left by your missing tooth, the space itself, bone quality, size, health history, and personal factors (esthetics, etc.).
What does a dental implant involve?
Implants often involve three stages:
- First, the dentist will determine if you are a good candidate for placement of the implant (or implants).
- Once placed, the implant is allowed to heal and integrate into the bone for a period of months (usually 3-6 depending on the doctor’s recommendations). Sometimes, the implant is covered by gingival (gum) tissue at this time so you won’t even be able to see it, other times a temporary tooth can be put on the implant while it heals.
- The implant is then ready to restore. The doctor will evaluate your implant and place a healing abutment (a short silver cylinder), that will help shape the gingiva for your implant crown.
Your treatment at this point depends on whether the implant is for an existing denture, a new denture, a bridge or a single tooth.
- If the implant(s) is intended to secure an existing denture, the denture will be modified to permit space for the precision attachment.
- For a bridge or single tooth implant, the dentist will take impressions (molds) and send them to the dental laboratory for the fabrication of a customized crown. Your return visit will be scheduled about two weeks out for the placement of the crown or bridge.