According to the American College of Prosthodontists, 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. If you are one of these 178 million, you may be familiar with feelings of insecurity related to your incomplete smile. A gap in your teeth can make it hard to confidently smile around others, even close friends and family. Fortunately, dental implants are a modern solution that can restore both your smile and your confidence. Want to know more? Here is a step-by-step guide to dental implant surgery.
Step 1: Initial Consultation
The first step of the dental implant process is to meet with your dentist for a comprehensive examination. During the exam, your dental professional will:
- Review your medical and dental history
- Take X-rays of your teeth
- Create impressions of your teeth so models can be made
Step 2: Implant Placement Surgery
The next step is the implant placement surgery, in which a metal screw is inserted into the jawbone beneath the gumline. This screw will mimic the natural tooth root structure and act as the sturdy anchor for your replacement tooth.
Once the dental implant is in place, the healing process begins. Over the next several months, the bone and the implant will fuse together to form one solid unit, a natural process known as osseointegration.
Step 3: Healing Collar Placement and Temporary Crown
Once the implants have fused with the bone, you can return to your dentist for the second surgery to place a healing cap on the head of the implant. The healing cap will remain in place for 10 to 14 days and will guide the gum tissue to heal correctly around the top of the implant.
After the tissue heals properly, the healing cap is removed and an abutment is screwed into the implant. A temporary crown is then placed on the abutment. Typically left in place for four to six weeks, the temporary crown helps protect the implant from the pressure of chewing while also giving the jawbone an opportunity to gradually get stronger.
Step 4: Getting Your New Tooth!
Using a model of your teeth and gum tissue, a new permanent crown – an artificial tooth – will be made. The crown can be either cemented or screwed to the abutment by your dental professional. Putting the new tooth onto your dental implant is quick and easy. Once your dental implant procedure is complete, you can show off your new smile to world!
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants offer significant advantages compared to other restorative dentistry options like crowns and bridges, such as:
- Maximum Support – Dental implants provide nearly the same chewing power of natural teeth.
- Preserve Healthy Teeth – Unlike conventional bridges, implants do not rely on healthy teeth on either side of a missing tooth for support.
- Natural Appearance – Implants are custom-designed to seamlessly blend in with your natural teeth.
Take the first step on the path to a more confident you by picking up the phone and having a conversation with your dentist about dental implants.
About the Author
Generations Dental Care has helped build healthy smiles in the Concord community for over 100 years. The local practice has an experienced team of six general practitioners and specialists, including an in-house periodontist equipped to perform dental implant surgery. Patients with questions about dental implants can visit the Generations Dental Care website or call 603-225-6331.