Dental implants can be a permanent and appealing solution to replace missing or extracted teeth. Implants are similar to titanium screws that are placed in the bone to act as a fixture for implant crowns. They offer advantages over other alternatives like bridges because, in most cases, adjacent teeth do not need to be altered to replace the missing tooth.
The entire implant process is usually performed over the course of 4-6 months. The first part of the process is placement of the implant itself. For this part of the process, we partner with very experienced periodontists or oral surgeons. This allows the patient the option of having the implant placed under IV sedation in addition to local anesthesia.
Over the course of the next 2-6 months, the implant integrates into the surrounding bone in a process called osseointegration. Depending on the quality of bone and position of the implant, a temporary crown or other temporary tooth replacement may be possible during the integration period.
After the implant has integrated, the process of implant restoration begins. We restore an implant by first placing an abutment on the implant, and then by making a crown or bridge that fits atop the abutment. The abutment serves as the base for your new tooth. It is the connection between the implant in the bone, and the crown that is made to replace the missing tooth in your mouth.
Implants can also be used in patients who have lost all of their teeth. In this case, more than one implant is usually placed in order to support a denture (set of false teeth).
While dental implants are generally a more expensive treatment option when compared to other methods for replacing missing teeth, many patients choose this option due to the longevity and high rate of success in comparison to other options.