Dental Implants for Missing Teeth
Dental implants are used to treat many cases when a patient has a tooth missing. The surgery for dental implants can be painful, however most people are more pleased with the results. This makes dental implant surgery a more popular choice than dental bridges. A dental implant requires several stages of surgery
Stage 1 - Dental Implant Screw
A dental implant can be put in place by a general dentist, however most dentists will refer you to an oral surgeon. The oral surgeon will be able to sedate you during the procedure. A small drill is used to drill a hole into the mandible or maxillary jaw. Once the hole is in the correct place and is the correct width the surgeon will put a threaded insert screw into the hole. This is so that the dentist will be able to literally screw the implant into your mouth. This also allows for the implant to be removed in the future, should any problems occur. The surgeon will then place a protective cover screw over the implant screw. This will allow the area to heal and it will also allow osseointegration to take place.
Osseointegration is when the bone regains its firmness around the implant screw. The implant screw is made of titanium and it is important that the bone surrounding it gets firm. This will anchor the implant screw and help it to stay in place. The process of osseointegration usually takes between 4 and 6 months. The primary failure for dental implants happens when the area is not given enough time to heal and osseointegration does not occur. While this happens in some cases, for the most part dental implant surgery has a very high success rate.
Stage 2 - Temporary Implant
Once osseointegration has happened, you will go back to your general dentist and he will make you a temporary implant. This implant will be used as a guide and the gum tissue will form around it to make it look like a natural tooth.
Once the gum line looks natural the dentist will match up the color of your teeth to the color of the new implant that is going to be made. Then he will take an impression of your teeth without the temporary implant. He will then make a model from this impression and sent it off to the lab. Your permanent tooth will be created in a dental lab. Once it is finished your dentist will call you to come in for an appointment. In the meantime you can continue to wear your temporary implant.
Stage 3 - New Dental Implant
The next time you are in his office he will screw your new implant in and check the fit. He will also adjust your bite and make sure that everything looks and feels good to you. If everything checks out okay you will be beaming with pride and showing off your shiny new tooth everywhere you go! However is something is off and it doesn't fit correctly, don't worry. Your dentist might be able to adjust the implant for you in his office. If he can't you will have to wear your temporary implant for another weeks or two, but be assured that your dentist will make your new tooth perfect for you!
If you think you are a good candidate for dental implant surgery you should discuss it with your dentist. Your dentist will be able to help you weigh the pros and cons of having the surgery done. He might suggest that a crown or a bridge would be better in your particular situation.
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