What are dental implants and how do they work?
Dental implants are a tooth replacement option that your dentist places in two steps. These are used to replace missing teeth, preventing complications and protecting your oral health.
The two parts of a dental implant are:
- A titanium rod, shaped like a screw, is placed into the jaw bone and functions like the root of the tooth.
- An abutment is a piece that screws into the dental implant, upon which the artificial tooth will attach later.
Once the implant is in place and healed, a tooth replacement, such as a crown or bridge, will be attached to the abutment.
When bone grafting is required prior to the implant being placed, a waiting period of approximately four to six months will be necessary before the implant portion of your treatment process can get started. A bone grafting procedure will only be necessary in cases where there is an excess of missing bone which can prevent the successful placement of an implant.
There may or may not be an immediate healing period if an extraction is required prior to the implant procedure. One of the benefits is that an implant can be placed at the time of extraction. Because the implant is placed at the same appointment as the tooth extraction, there is no need for a second healing period. typically, this healing process takes around a week for most people.
Once the implant has been placed you will need to wait between four to six months while the bone becomes integrated with the implant metal. Once this is complete, your dentist can move on to the next stage in the process.
Finally, your dentist is able to add an abutment to your dental implant to which either an artificial tooth (a dental cap) or denture will be attached.
How do I know if dental implants are right for me?
Before recommending dental implants, your dentist will perform a complete examination, including X-rays and discuss your full medical history. Following a thorough examination, your dentist will be able to determine whether dental implants are the best option for you.
In order to ensure that the implant heals without issues you will need a healthy jawbone and gums. Your dentist will also consider your overall health when making recommendations for tooth replacement.