If one or more of your teeth are missing, there are a number of options to replace them. An alternative treatment to Porcelain bridges or partial dentures is dental implant. Dental implants replace the missing root and crown of a tooth. They are comfortable and look like natural teeth.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is an artificial root made of titanium metal. It is inserted into the jawbone to replace the root of the natural tooth and the bone gradually grow around and into it as it heals and fills the extraction socket. An artificial tooth crown is fabricated and cemented to the head of the implant abutment. The implant abutment acts as an anchor to hold the crown of the tooth.
How are dental implants placed?
- Your dentist or implant specialist (periodontist or oral surgeon) will carefully examine your mouth and take x-rays of your jaw and teeth to find out if dental implants are right for you.
- During the first stage of surgery, your dentist or specialist will put a dental implant into the bone beneath the gum tissue. The gum tissue is then stitched back into place. As the tissue heals, the implant will bond with the bone as the bone grows around it. It usually takes 3-6 months for the bone to heal.
- During the second stage of surgery and once the tissue is healed, your dentist or specialist will attach an abutment to the implant. An abutment is a post that connects the replacement tooth to the implant. In some cases, the first and second stage of implant surgery may be done in one single stage.
- An artificial replacement tooth is made and your dentist or specialist attaches it to the abutment. It may take several appointments to properly fit the replacement tooth to the abutment.