A Patient's Guide To The Dental Implant Procedure
A dental implant is one of today's best options for replacing damaged or missing teeth. The greatest advantages of implants over other restorations are that they are durable, beautiful, and highly functional.
Many patients may feel intimidated by the dental implant procedure and unsure whether implants are the right choice. However, the implant procedure is typically well-tolerated and produces excellent results.
This blog will share some of the benefits single-tooth dental implants provide and explain the multi-step process behind their installation.
Benefits of Dental Implants
When you have new dental implants, you can smile and talk again without worrying about missing teeth. You will enjoy sharing your smile with the world.
Improve Speaking and Chewing Functions
Unlike dentures, implants ensure clear speech because they do not click or slip. Implants allow you to eat hard, crunchy, and chewy food like apples, popcorn, and steak.
Preserve Jawbone Mass
Missing teeth cause the jawbone to deteriorate around the empty socket. In the first year after you lose a tooth, you will lose up to 25% of the jawbone mass in that area, with more lost each year. Bone loss and missing teeth can cause the face to sag, aging your appearance. Dental implants prevent jawbone loss by providing chewing stimulation.
Prevent Teeth from Shifting
When patients have missing teeth, their remaining teeth frequently slip into new positions. They may become crowded, leading to a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Dental implants keep your natural teeth in their intended places, preventing unwanted gaps and preserving alignment.
The Dental Implant Procedure
Following is a basic outline of the dental implant process. We have included approximate healing times between each step, which may vary based on your health and other circumstances.
Step 1: Consultation
Before you start the dental implant process, you will meet with Dr. Martin to evaluate your oral health. He will help you understand the process and let you know whether you are a good candidate for surgery.
The dentist will fully examine your teeth and jaws, taking X-rays and digital scans to ensure there is space for the implant and that your bone is healthy enough to accept it.
Step 2: Extraction
Damaged or decayed teeth will need extraction before the process can proceed. We can extract most compromised teeth in the office or refer you to an oral surgeon.
Step 3: Bone Grafts
If Dr. Martin determines you need extra bone mass before receiving an implant, he will schedule you for a bone graft procedure. He will open the jawbone at the implant site and insert a ground, sterilized bone medium. The new material creates a "scaffold" to grow healthy bone mass. After three to four months, the graft will heal enough for the next step.
Step 4: Implant Post Placement
Implant posts are small titanium anchors that gently screw into the jawbone. Over a healing period of three to six months, the anchor bonds with the jawbone in a process called osseointegration. After the post heals, you can progress to the next step.
Step 5: Abutment Placement
The abutment is a small stainless steel cap covering the implant post's top. The dentist will later use the abutment to connect the dental crown to the anchor. The dentist arranges the gum tissue around the abutment and waits about two weeks for it to heal before crown placement.
Step 6: Crown Placement
The dentist can place the final restoration after the gums heal around the abutment. The crown looks and feels natural, and many people may be unable to tell you have an implant.
Step 7: Maintenance
The process of caring for a single-tooth dental implant is easy. Brush and floss as you would with a healthy natural tooth. Ensure that you keep all of your recommended dental appointments. Dr. Martin will check your implant's health and condition at each visit.
Call Fort Collins Dental Center
You can make an informed decision with a full understanding of the dental implant procedure. If you have questions about any part of the process, please call our office at 970-482-1477. We can schedule a consultation with Dr. Martin and start you toward a healthier, more complete smile.