Patient Guide to The Dental Implant Procedure
All your teeth play roles not only in the quality of your smile, but also in your ability to complete basic tasks like chewing and speaking. A tooth that’s missing or showing signs of major decay can interfere with both your self-confidence and your quality of life.
Talk to your dentist about treatment options for a lost or decaying tooth. They might recommend a dental implant. Although it’s best to discuss this topic thoroughly with your dentist to make an informed decision about whether it’s the right treatment method for you, this guide will help you understand what the treatment process may involve.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a durable false tooth that looks like a natural, healthy tooth. One of the many benefits of a dental implant is that it doesn’t merely resemble a tooth—it functions like a natural tooth as well. Additionally, although various factors can influence the potential lifespan of dental implants, according to research from the National Library of Medicine, it’s not uncommon for dental implants to stay in good condition for 15 years or longer with proper care.
An implant itself consists of a titanium rod. This rod serves as an artificial dental root that fuses with a patient’s jawbone over the course of several weeks after insertion.
Once the rod has fused to a patient’s jawbone successfully, a dentist or oral surgeon completes the treatment process by installing an abutment and crown. The crown is the component that visually resembles a natural tooth.
What Does the Dental Implant Procedure Consist Of?
Certain elements of the dental implant treatment process can vary from one patient to another. In general, though, treatment may involve these steps:
Discussion and Evaluation
A dental implant is not the only possible replacement for a missing tooth. Before confirming this treatment method is ideal for a given patient’s needs, a dentist might discuss the pros and cons of other options first.
A dentist also needs to evaluate various health factors before deciding a patient is a good treatment for dental implants. For example, a certain degree of jawbone strength is necessary to support an implant. If a patient’s jawbone is too weak, they may need to consider other treatment methods, or they may need to first undergo a bone grafting procedure to strengthen their jawbone.
Extraction (if Necessary)
Dental implants don’t always replace teeth patients have already lost. Sometimes, a dentist may recommend an implant if a patient’s tooth is significantly damaged, decayed, or both.
In this scenario, a dentist will need to extract the tooth before moving on to the next steps in the treatment process. Again, bone grafting is another such additional step the overall dental implant procedure may involve if necessary.
Placing the Implant
The next step involves performing surgery to place the titanium rod component of a dental implant into a patient’s mouth. It will then take several weeks for the titanium rod to fuse with the patient’s jawbone.
Placing the Abutment
The abutment is a post connecting the titanium rod to the crown that will ultimately cover it. Typically, the dental implant procedure involves placing the abutment after the titanium rod has fused with a patient’s jawbone, although there are instances in which it may be possible to place both at once.
Placing the Crown
It may take about two weeks for a patient’s gums to heal around an abutment. Once healing is complete, the treatment process can move to the next and final major step: installing the crown over the implant. The crown should be a custom-designed artificial tooth that blends in with a patient’s existing teeth.
After placing the crown, a dentist will usually offer a patient tips for caring for their implant. They will also recommend scheduling follow-up appointments so the dentist can monitor the implant’s condition and the patient’s overall response to treatment.
Dental Implants Provide Long-Lasting Results
Patients should be aware that the dental implant procedure can take months to complete. However, this shouldn’t necessarily discourage a patient from moving forward with this treatment option if a dentist recommends it.
Receiving a dental implant may take some time. That said, once the process is complete, a dental implant could last a decade or more. If you’re looking for a long-term replacement for a missing tooth, talk to your dentist about implants.
Learn More About Dental Implants in Dickson, Tennessee
At College Street Smiles, we’re on hand to answer your questions about dental implants, helping you better understand if this treatment option is ideal for your needs. Learn more by calling us at 615-446-7878 to schedule your appointment today.