When you lose a tooth, it can have a major impact on your life. Not only is it aesthetically unappealing, but it can also make it difficult to eat and speak properly. In addition, it can also lead to further tooth loss as the surrounding teeth begin to shift. Thankfully, there are options available to help restore your smile, one of which is dental implants.
What Is a Dental Implant
Dental implants or tooth implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth. They are made up of two main parts: the implant, which is a titanium screw that is placed into the jawbone, and the abutment, which is a connector piece that is placed on top of the implant. The implant acts as a replacement for the tooth root, while the abutment supports the artificial tooth (crown).
A dental implant procedure is a dental surgery. So you generally need to meet a few qualifications before your get dental implants. These include:
- Healthy oral tissue and enough jawbone to support the implant
- Full-grown jawbone
- Committed to oral hygiene and regular dental visits
- Committed to not smoke
Dental implants are a long-term investment. Unlike regular checkups, dental implants take a long time.
The process begins with a consultation with your dentist to see if you are a candidate for dental implants. If you are a candidate, the next step is to have a CT scan or x-ray taken of your mouth. This will help the dentist determine the placement of the implant.
Once the placement is determined, the next step is to have the implant surgery. This is a minor surgery, and you will be given local anesthesia. The implant will be placed in your jawbone, and a healing period of 3-6 months is required.
Once the implant has healed, the next step is to place the abutment. The abutment is a small metal connector piece that attaches the implant to the dental prosthetic (crown, bridge, or denture).
The final step is to place the dental prosthetic. This is the visible part of the implant that replaces the missing tooth. The entire process can take up to a year, but it is a long-term investment that will last a lifetime.
Dental implants are placed in the jawbone, and they rely on the bone for support. If there isn’t enough bone in the jaw, the implant may not have enough support and could fail. Bone grafting can help to ensure that there is enough bone for the implant to be placed successfully.
Bone grafting is a common and safe procedure that’s often performed in conjunction with dental implants. This is where the bone tissue is transplanted from one area of the body to another. This tissue may be taken from another area of the body (such as the hip), or it may be artificial. The bone graft is used to build up the bone in the area where the dental implant will be placed.
When the dental prosthetic is already attached, the second step is to place an abutment.
An abutment is a small metal connector piece used to join a dental implant to a dental prosthetic. It is placed atop the implant after the implant has healed and integrated with the jawbone. The abutment acts as a connector between the implant and the dental prosthetic, which can be a dental crown, bridge, or denture. This usually takes anywhere from 4-6 weeks. Once the abutment is placed, the dental prosthetic can be attached.
Abutments are typically made of titanium, which is a biocompatible metal that is well-tolerated by the body. Abutments are placed after the implant has healed and integrated with the jawbone.
After dental implant surgery, it is normal to expect some discomfort including:
- bruising of gums
- minor bleeding
To remedy these, you can use ice and over-the-counter inflammation-reducing medicine. If your symptoms are severe, you may need to see a doctor for prescription medication.
If you’re considering getting a tooth implant, you can expect a few things, from what you need to post-surgery. Knowing all these expectations can help you prepare and enjoy all the benefits of having a natural-looking tooth implants.
Galleria Dental Arts provides dental implants in Manassas that can help regain your smile. We offer a variety of implant options, including traditional implants, mini implants, and All-on-4 implants. We will work with you to find the best option for your needs and budget. Let us discuss your options and help you decide if implants are right for you. Schedule an appointment with us today!