A dental implant is a titanium post that functions as the foundation of a permanent replacement for a missing tooth. The post acts as the natural tooth root, as it is secured permanently into the jawbone. A crown is placed on top of the post that looks and functions exactly like a natural tooth. The final result is a more beautiful smile, a more comfortable bite, easier chewing, and improved speech.
Benefits of Dental Implants
- Do not alter surrounding teeth
- Prevent jawbone loss that can occur from missing teeth
- No special diet or cleaning routine is required for maintenance
Dental implants do not require the altering of any surrounding teeth to hold the implant(s) in place. Securing them deep within the jawbone promotes the natural stimulation from chewing that strengthens the bone and prevents degeneration.
Replacing a lost tooth with a dental implant typically occurs in three phases:
- Securing the implant to the jawbone
- Securing the abutment to the implant
- Securing the crown to the abutment
The first dental visit usually requires local or general anesthesia, as the titanium rod is surgically placed deep beneath the gums. It will take three to six months for the implant to fully fuse to the jawbone before the second phase can begin. Once healing from the first phase is complete, a dental abutment is secured to the implant, and local anesthesia is typically used. A temporary crown can be placed after this step, as soft tissues that surround the abutment must heal for a couple of weeks before the final phase. A special cement is applied to the abutment, and the customized crown (or dental bridge) is placed on top. Patients can resume normal activity and eating following this final procedure and can enjoy their new, full smile with confidence.