Dental implants are an excellent alternative to bridges and dentures. Designed to be permanent, dental implants help keep your mouth and jaw strong and healthy. If you have been thinking about having a dental implant installed in your mouth, you're probably curious about the process.
Luckily, that's easy to explain.
After removing the problem tooth, your dentist will begin the dental implant procedure by placing the implant. A screw-shaped piece of titanium, the implant is essentially screwed into the jaw bone. While this might sound painful, it's usually a quick and painless procedure. Local anesthesia will keep you pain free while the dentist ensures that the implant connects to the jaw bone.
Depending on your oral health, your dentist may wish to wait to move forward. Once the jawbone has fused with the titanium implant, the dentist will move on to the next step.
The Abutment or Connector
Now that the jaw has fused with the titanium, the dentist can attach the body of the implant. Also known as the abutment or connector, this "peg" tooth is what the final crown will attach to. It is important to note that the abutment or connector may look different for each person – and each tooth. Made specifically for your mouth, the dentist usually has the abutment or connector made by a dental laboratory.
The abutment or connector attaches to the implant body via screw. It is simply screwed into the implant body. Once that is done, the actual crown can be made and attached to the implant body and connector.
Finally, the crown (or fake tooth) is attached to the implant body and connector. This is usually done with dental cement. Once the crown has been cemented into place, your new tooth should look and feel completely natural.
The Dental Implant Timeline
It is important to note that in most situations, there is a healing period after each dental implant appointment. If the tooth needs to be removed, you'll also likely need to heal before the implant process can begin. Because of this, it may take a while before your implant is fully completed.
If you have concerns about the process, be sure to ask your dentist about same-day dental implants. While not offered at all dentist offices, same-day dental implants can make the process much quicker. However, your recovery time may be affected – as you'll be recovering from each step all at once.