A dental implant is a replacement for one or more missing teeth. Implants, usually constructed of titanium, are surgically placed and allowed to heal within bone. A dental abutment and dental crown is placed after an implant heals. A dental implant restoration is often the most natural looking replacement for missing teeth.
An evaluation of the underlying bone and gums must be completed prior to dental implant therapy.
There are many different shapes and sizes of dental implants. Generally, it is best to place the longest and widest (maximal surface area) dental implant possible. X-rays and dental impressions for diagnostic models are taken frequently during the implant therapy process. A gum surgery or bone graft is also often performed to improve the success of dental implants (See Bone Graft for details).
The dental implant procedure varies from patient to patient. Commonly, an oral surgeon performs the dental implant surgery. Implant healing, or osseointegration, typically takes 3 to 6 months to complete. During this time, temporary cosmetics may or may not be necessary. Once healed, the oral surgeon and general cosmetic dentist will begin the restoring the implant. A minor gum surgery (implant uncovery), dental impressions and use of specific implant parts (impression coping, healing abutment, permanent implant abutment) are needed prior to a dental implant crown. (See Dental Crowns for more details)
Speak to your dentist about scheduling an appointment for an implant consultation.