Dental implants represent the best of dentistry. In situations where a patient is missing a tooth or must extract a tooth due to fracture or decay, a dental implant is the best method of restoring the tooth to full function. They can also be used to support partial or complete dentures.
A dental implant that replaces one missing tooth consists of three parts:
- The dental implant is a titanium screw that is embedded into the bone of the jaw.
- An abutment is screwed onto the implant.
- A crown is cemented to the abutment.
The process of placing and receiving a dental implant takes many months. The dental implant is surgically placed into the bone of the jaw by an oral surgeon or a periodontist (gum specialist). After the surgery, the area is allowed to heal allowing time for the bone to incorporate the implant into itself in a process called osseointegration. A healing abutment is screwed onto the implant to allow the gum tissues to heal. Once the implant is fully supported by the bone, or osseointegrated, the implant is ready to have the abutment and crown placed on it.
Impressions (molds) of the implant are taken and sent to the lab where the abutment and crown are fabricated. On the day of delivery, the healing abutment is removed and the permanent abutment is screwed onto to the implant. The crown is fitted and adjusted. Once a perfect fit is achieved, the crown is permanently cemented into place. A properly fitted implant supported crown will look and feel like a normal tooth. Excellent homecare, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new implant.