Dental implants are a great solution to many tooth loss problems. Whether you’ve suffered from decay, gum disease, or injury that resulted in tooth loss, implants give you back the confidence and freedom of your natural teeth. If you’ve had tooth loss occur, even partially, you know how it can affect your oral health, eating, and even speech. Dental implants confront these problems. Getting dental implants is a multi-step process that can last roughly between six and nine months. Some steps may not apply to you and some can be condensed depending on your particular case.
If there is any remaining tooth left, it needs to be removed first to make room for the implant. The procedure to place the artificial root involves an incision and drilling into the bone under anesthesia. A titanium rod is screwed in where the root used to be. After this procedure the bone needs to heal for six to twelve weeks so that the new root has time to grow into the bone and become properly secure. If your jaw doesn’t have enough bone for the healing process, you may need to have a bone graft done prior to this procedure.
After healing from the first procedure, another incision is made to expose the implant. A separate fixture is attached to the root implant and protrudes out of the gums. This piece attaches the artificial root and the new tooth. This step can be done when placing the root, but many people prefer not to have the attachment visible through weeks of the healing process.
After a short healing time, impressions will be made to create a custom fit crown, or artificial tooth. The crown can be made to be permanent or removable. The crown is installed on the abutment that was left expose above the gums. You may need to temporarily limit your diet to soft foods after the various surgical steps to allow proper healing.
Though the process takes some time, it is not considered more painful than a tooth extraction in most cases. The result is a natural looking tooth that typically only needs the same amount of care as rest of your teeth. The implant improves eating, speaking, comfort, oral health, and confidence. Properly maintained your new smile can last a lifetime.