If you’re missing one or more teeth, a great way to replace them is with dental implants. An implant is a titanium post that replaces the root of your tooth. After the implant fuses with your jawbone, a replacement tooth (that looks just like your natural teeth) is placed on top of the post.
Dentures and bridges are other possibilities, but implants are the gold standard in dentistry. This is for several reasons:
- Dental implants are permanent – they won’t fall out.
- They promote healthy bone growth in your jaw.
- Dental implants look just like your natural teeth.
- You can clean and eat with your dental implants just like your natural teeth.
- They are comfortable and don’t pinch your gums.
- They restore the functionality of your teeth so you can speak, eat, and chew without any problems.
There are many advantages to getting implants, but the entire process can take a few months. Most patients, however, find that the wait is definitely worth it! In this article, we’ll outline the entire step-by-step process of dental implant restoration so you know what to expect.
Each patient has different needs. For this reason, it’s always best to start with an evaluation or a consultation. We will listen to your concerns, take a look at your teeth, and decide the best path forward for restoring your smile. This is a good opportunity for you to ask questions and understand exactly what will be involved with your implant restoration.
Depending on the status of your teeth, you might need to have the tooth extracted. For instance, if you’ve had an accident that destroyed a tooth, we will need to clean out the remaining tooth and any broken pieces. Additionally, if you are replacing rotting teeth, these will need to be extracted. Your dentist will know if an extraction is required and he’ll discuss the requirements during your evaluation.
3 Bone Grafting
Another possible step is bone grafting. Again, this isn’t required for everyone, but it is important that you have a strong jawbone structure before placing the implants. Patients who require bone grafting typically have been missing a tooth for an extended period of time. When your tooth isn’t rooted in your jawbone, the bone begins to recede and weaken.
Bone grafting takes a section of bone from another area of your body or uses a special bone grafting material and grafts it onto your jaw bone. The graft then needs time to create a strong foundation to support your implant. The greater the bone grafting requirement, the longer it will take to properly graft. Like extraction, any bone grafting will be discussed during your evaluation.
4 Placing the Implants
Once any required teeth have been removed and bone grafting is complete, the implants can then be placed. We take the necessary steps to ensure this is a pain-free process, and then the titanium posts are placed with precision into your gums and jawbone. We then inspect the implants to ensure they have been secured in the proper location. The amount of time this takes depends on the number of implants that are required.
Placing implants is actually a two-step process. The titanium posts require several months for osseointegration (the process of properly bonding to the jawbone) before we can place the permanent crowns. We don’t want patients leaving our office with missing teeth and titanium posts, however, so we provide a temporary crown to give the appearance of your natural teeth while your posts fuse with the bone.
5 Placing the Replacement Teeth
Once osseointegration is complete, a customized abutment will be placed on top of the implant. An abutment is a connector that is placed on the top of the dental implant to connect the replacement tooth or teeth. Finally, a customized dental crown will be placed on top of the abutment.
This crown will look and function just like your natural teeth. This means:
- Your crown will match the color of your surrounding teeth.
- You can eat the same foods with your implant that you would with your natural teeth.
- You can clean your implants just like your natural teeth, by brushing and flossing.
- Your bite will be well balanced and fit together for easier eating and clear speaking.
Once your permanent crown is placed, you can rest assured that your smile will last for years to come.
Schedule your evaluation
Now that you know all the steps, it is time to take the first one and schedule an evaluation to see if dental implants are right for you. If you live near Mullins, South Carolina then we recommend you contact us at Blevins Dentistry for your evaluation.
Dr. Blevins is one of South Carolina’s most accomplished dentists. He has extensive experience placing implants and restoring smiles. You won’t be disappointed with our service!