Dental implants are used for those who have lost one or more of their teeth. Implants are placed in the jawbone by implant specialists during the surgery. Once the implant base is placed into your jawbone, it acts as the root for a new tooth crown supposed to replace your lost tooth. Finally, the tooth’s crown, which looks like a natural tooth, is placed on the dental implant and fills the empty space of the missing tooth. Therefore, dental implant is the best solution for those who have lost their natural teeth.
Sufficient bone must be present in the jaw for dental implants to be successful. The bone must be strong enough to hold the dental implant. If bone density is not enough, it may need to be added and strengthened by a bone grafting method. Besides, the natural teeth and supporting tissues near the implant must be in good health.
Implant: It is made of titanium and placed in the upper or lower jawbone.
Abutment: It is made of titanium, gold, or porcelain attached to the implant with screws. This part connects the base to the crown of the tooth. Its shape is like a natural tooth.
Restoration (the part that looks like a tooth): It is the crown of the tooth. It is usually made from a combination of porcelain with a metal alloy (PFM) but can also be all metal or porcelain. The crown is screwed or glued to the abutment. If screwed, the screw hole is covered with restorative materials, such as tooth-filling composites.
The time needed to complete the dental implant depends on many factors. The minimum time to complete the implant course is approximately five or six months, including surgery and permanent crown placement. However, this process can take a year or more, especially if you need bone grafting.
Alternatively, the dental implant and the crown are placed at the same time. If the dentists use small (mini) implants, they will place them in the same session, such as dentures, bridges, and crowns.
In the conventional method, two surgeries are required, with an interval of 3 to 6 months. The first surgical procedure is to make a small incision in the gums (where the dental implant is to be placed). A hole is made in the jaw bone with a drill. The implant is inserted into the hole, and then the gums are sutured. After the recovery period of the first surgery, it is time for the second surgery. The second surgery involves a new incision to expose the implant site.
Caring for implants is like caring for your natural teeth. It is very important to brush and floss daily. If you have a problem, visit your dentist before the 6-month check-up. After the dental implant surgery, you will need special care for a while.
Dental implants look and work like your natural teeth. However, for some patients, it may be difficult for the implant to look exactly like a natural tooth. The crown of the tooth can be made wider to cover the space between the teeth. Studies so far have shown that the durability of the dental implant can be up to 25 years.