A dental implant procedure is minimally invasive and performed under a local anesthetic. Some implant dentistry can be completed on the same day, and the results are incredibly effective, providing a replacement that looks, feels and functions just like a real tooth.
The implantation process
To begin with, your dentist will conduct a thorough examination of your mouth, including x-rays, to assess your suitability for dental implants. A possible complication that can arise at this stage include insufficient bone density in the jaw, which your dentist can correct with a bone graft.
If you’re a suitable candidate for implants, your dentist will start by numbing the area to ensure you’re comfortable throughout the procedure. You may feel some pressure, but you shouldn’t experience any discomfort. If you are very nervous about the procedure, your dentist may be able to offer you sedation to help you relax.
Your dentist will embed a small titanium screw into your jawbone through a small incision in your gum. This screw will act as an artificial root for your new prosthetic tooth. Once the implant is in place, your dentist will attach a healing cap to protect it.
As the jaw and gum heal, the implant will fuse with the surrounding bone tissue, making it as secure in your mouth as any natural tooth. This process can take three months or longer.
Once the implant is stable enough, your dentist will attach a prosthetic tooth (crown) directly on top. Prosthetics are typically made of porcelain, although other materials like composite resin may also be used.
What kind of dental implants are available?
If you are only missing one tooth, you can get a single implant. If you are missing multiple teeth, an implant-retained bridge or denture may be more suitable. You can even elect to have your remaining natural teeth extracted as part of an “all-on-four” or “all-on-six” same-day procedure, to replace all your teeth in one session.
Your decision will depend on your current situation, the results you want to achieve, and any complications that may limit your choice.
- Single-tooth implants — Single implants are perfect for replacing a missing tooth. One implant is used to support a dental crown.
- Implant-retained bridges and dentures — If you are missing multiple adjacent teeth, your dentist can place two or more implants to support a bridge or denture. Implant-retained bridges and dentures are more secure and feel more natural than their traditional counterparts.
- All-on-four and all-on-six same-day teeth — If you would like to replace all your teeth with implants, your dentist will most likely recommend this procedure. Four to six implants are used to support an entire arch of teeth.
Because the implants are positioned in the jaw at a different angle to single-tooth implants, same-day teeth procedures aren’t subject to complications like poor bone density and can be completed in a single appointment.
How long do dental implants last?
The answer to this question depends on the material you choose for your prosthetic teeth. Many dentists prefer to use porcelain, which can last decades with proper care. Dental implant care simple involves keeping up a good standard of oral hygiene to keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean.
Replacing a missing tooth can boost your confidence significantly. It can also restore your bite, helping you to enjoy foods you may have had to avoid in the past. If you would like to know more about dental implants, Scott J Owens DDS Cosmetic & Family Dentistry is a knowledgeable provider of implant dentistry in Michigan.