Dental implants are a procedure the dentist can do to replace a missing tooth or teeth, instead of the patient having a part plate or bridgework done. While the process takes longer to complete, it offers a good alternative that mimics natural teeth more closely and once done there is no discomfort or need to do anything extra such as removing a plate and cleaning it.
The first step when getting implants is for the dentist to x-ray the gums to ensure there is enough bone width and density to hold the screw securely. Once he is sure everything is suitable for this kind of treatment, he will drill down into the bone and screw the implant into place, then stitch the gum closed over the top.
In some cases the dentist may require a CT scan of the bone to ascertain where the nerve is, so he will not damage it during the drilling process. The implant, which looks like a small screw, is made of titanium, a material that is not only strong, but well known for being a metal that the body does not consider to be a foreign body and will accept without any sign of rejection.
How long does it take?
It can take three to six months for osseointergration to take place. This is the process of the bone growing over the implant so that it forms a stable anchor for the tooth. If this does not happen the implant will not be successful. You’ll need another x-ray in three months to check out whether the process is finished or needs a longer time for completion.
Once the dentist finds that the osseointergration is successful he will fix the abutment on if that was not done during the first procedure, then it is time to place the crown on. This may be a temporary crown fixed on so the gum can grow around it in a natural way. The temporary crown is then replaced with the new tooth or crown, which will look very much like your natural teeth. In fact, most people cannot tell one from the other because there is no visible means of support for this false tooth; it is all hidden away inside the gum and jaw bone.
The final step
Healing from the last part of the procedure can take up to two months. It is important to attend any follow up checks the dentist advises on to ensure everything is going according to plan. Once everything is healed you should be able to eat and chew normally without any discomfort or pain. Some dental implants have lasted up to 40 years. Of course, it is necessary to practice good dental hygiene so that there is no likelihood of decays or gum disease around the area.