What Are Dental Implants?
The best way to describe a dental implant is to compare it to a real tooth. A natural tooth consists of a root and a crown. The part you see and eat with is the crown. Beneath the crown is the root which anchors the tooth through the gum tissue and to the jaw bone.
When you lose a tooth you lose both the root and the crown. You need a dental implant which is essentially a new root to replace both the root and the crown.
How do dental implants work?
A dental implant consists of a titanium root that is fitted into a socket that we create in your jaw to replace the loss of your natural tooth. Once an dental implant is placed in your jaw the bone around the implant will need to heal for up to 3 months depending how are hard the bone is. When this initial phase of healing is completed, a support post will be placed into the implant and the new crown is placed on top of it.
This office procedure to place a dental implant takes usually about an hour for one implant, and no more than 2 or 3 hours for multiple implants.
The placement process consist of the following steps:
• If requested you will receive medication prior to the surgery to make this a painless and comfortable procedure. You may prefer to be sedated using nitrous oxide as known as laughing gas, or intravenous medication, and then a local anaesthetic is administered to numb the area where the implant will be put into place. After you are comfortable, a small incision is made into the gum tissue revealing the bone where the implant is placed.
• Using a special tool, a socket is created carefully avoiding damage to surrounding bone. Titanium implants are then inserted into the socket. Finally, if necessary, sutures will be used to close up the gum tissue. After the implant is placed there it will take about 3 months to heal, give or take. The length of the healing period depends on variety of factors. Follow up care generally is done in 4 appointments, making sure the wound is healing well and determining when you are ready for the restorative part of your treatment.
• There are variety of ways that an implant is finished and prepared for the healing phase. Implants can be placed at the time of extraction but we usually wait for approximately 3 months after tooth loss to place the implant. If the tooth or teeth are missing, sometimes the jaw bone becomes smaller and thinner. But implant placement can still be accomplished with an extra procedure to help built up the jaw. These procedure are referred to as grafting. They are relatively comfortable and done in our office.
• A sinus lift is a grafting procedure which is usually needed with when upper back teeth have been missing for some time. The sinus is a hollow space in your upper jaw that has enlarged, causing bone loss. This office procedure is done either before or at the time of implant placement.
• More frequently, one implant per missing tooth is placed. Because of the pressure exerted by chewing, most back teeth have more than one root. Because the teeth in the back of our jaw have two or three roots, our tendency is to replacing missing back teeth with larger implants or more than one implant per tooth. This especially important if there has been moderate bone loss or if there is excessive biting force.