What are dental implants?
Dental implants are small titanium posts that are surgically inserted into the jawbone where teeth are missing. The bone bonds with the implant which creates a strong foundation for artificial teeth known as crowns.
Why dental implants?
Dental implants don’t affect or alter surrounding natural teeth as they are supported by bone only. Since dental implants are integrated into the bone structure, they are very stable and are able to prevent bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing. In addition, they are able to preserve facial structure and can look and feel exactly just like one’s own natural teeth.
Before dental implant procedure:
Prior to surgery, the dental surgeon will examine the site of the mouth where a dental implant is being considered, and the quality of the jawbone is assessed in order to determine if more bone is needed at the site. Most often the first stage prior to implant placement involves tooth extraction in order to prepare for placement of the dental implant. Usually an alveolar bone graft is placed to achieve a solid base of bone for the implant. If a site has no tooth and bone loss is present, it will require an onlay bone graft to be placed on top of the existing jawbone. This procedure requires a longer healing process. In other cases when enough bone is already present, the implant procedure can happen immediately following the tooth extraction.
During and after implant procedure:
During surgery the dental implant (titanium post) is placed into the bone using a special drill and other tools. Next, a healing cap is placed over the implant, the gum is stitched up, and healing time begins. Healing lasts anywhere from 2 to 6 months depending on the quality of bone present. During this time the implant becomes integrated with the bone. Once it’s confirmed that the implant was successfully taken up by the surrounding bone, a prosthetic component, called an abutment, is connected to the dental implant using a screw. The abutment will hold the replacement tooth (crown) which will be cemented on or secured to the abutment with a screw
Written by: Noa Breitman