Dental implants are done when someone is missing a tooth or multiple teeth. The procedure is usually done in steps, and they cannot be completed in one appointment. However, dental implants are usually the most effective and longest lasting solution for missing teeth. The procedure usually goes as follows:
- The damaged tooth is taken out. It is necessary to get a dental implant because your natural tooth is decayed or damaged to the point where it is no longer healthy or useful.
- The jawbone is readied for the implant. Sometimes a bone graft is necessary to get a dental implant when your jawbone isn’t thick enough to hold the implant, or if your jawbone is too soft. Without adequate support for the implant, the surgery would likely not be successful in the long term.
- A post is placed in the jawbone to further ready the implant: Your dentist or surgeon will drill holes into your jawbone and implant a metal post deep into the bone. This post will act as the new tooth’s new artificial root. Typically after this procedure, there is a healing period that may last several weeks or even months.
- –An abutment is placed. The abutment is an extension of the implant metal post. In some cases, when the implant is very stable and not a lot of healing is required, this can be done at the same time that the implant is placed. The actual tooth implant cannot be placed because a process called osseointegration needs to occur. The area of the jawbone where the metal post and abutment are placed will grow around the post and solidify it into place. This makes sure that the actual implant will have a solid base and not be easily moved out of place.
- Molds of the jaw are taken and the final tooth is placed. When the new “root” is strong enough to support an implant, your dentist or surgeon will place your new implant. After the implant is placed, you are able to chew, grind, and more with the new implant. You can get removable or fixed implants. A removal implant is similar to a denture, in that there is artificial tooth and gum that snaps into place and can be taken out to be cleaned or repaired. A fixed implant is permanently screwed into the abutment.
People with dental implants should care for their implants just like they do for their regular teeth, by brushing and flossing regularly. Implants made today can last for up to 25 years if they are properly cared for and examined by your dentist on a regular basis.
Dr. Djuric DDS has been practicing implant and cosmetic dentistry for over 25 years in the Gulf Coast area. If you think you may need dental implants, please give us a call today at (850) 542-4428. We’re here to help.