Missing teeth can affect your confidence, self-esteem, and your smile. If you lose one or more teeth, you may need a dental implant. They are the best way to replace missing teeth.
A dental implant is an artificial structure with a screwlike device. The screwlike part goes into the jawbone and acts as an anchor for a crown. An abutment connects the dental implant to the artificial tooth.
The process involves several procedures, so it can take months to go through the process. However, the time will also vary depending on what you need.
Dental implants require one or more surgical procedures. So before starting any part of the process, the dentist will want to prepare you physically and psychologically. What will they do during the preparation process?
They will take three-dimensional images of your teeth and jaw. They will also take dental X-rays and make models. These will help them have a good idea of how your teeth and jaw look.
The doctor will ask you about any medical conditions you may have. They will also want to know if you are taking any medication for these conditions. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if you have any orthopedic implants or heart conditions. The antibiotics will help prevent any infection.
The doctor will tailor-make a treatment plan for you. It will take into account all your needs— the condition of your jaw, the number of teeth you need to replace, and how many will remain.
The whole process of preparation can take a day. After this, the treatment process can begin. There are multiple steps to it. They include:
Removal of damaged teeth
Jawbone preparation and grafting if there is a need
Placement of dental implants
Healing and bone growth
Placement of abutment
Placement of artificial tooth
The process of removing the teeth may not take long. However, you will have to wait for about two months before the next step to allow your gum to heal.
The doctor may do some grafting if your jaw is soft or not thick enough. Your jaw must be strong enough to withstand the force that chewing exerts. A bone graft creates a solid base for the implant. The step takes several months before the jaw heals.
The surgeon cuts your gum, exposes the bone, and drills a hole where they place the dental implant. The post will serve as the root of the tooth.
Once the doctor places the implant, osseointegration begins. The jawbone unites and grows into the dental implant. It provides a solid base for the artificial tooth. The process takes several months.
The doctor reopens the gum and places the abutment. They close the gum tissue around the abutment and give you time to heal. The process takes about two weeks.
Once the gum heals, the doctor will put in your artificial teeth after confirming that your jaw is strong enough. Follow the doctor’s instructions during the process. It will prevent prolonged healing and damage to the implants.
For more information on the dental implant process, call Clarity Dental Center at (253) 799-1490 for Implant and Family Dentistry at our office in Federal Way, Washington.