Understanding the procedure: Dental Implants
Dental implants have revolutionized the field of dentistry, providing a permanent and reliable solution for individuals who have lost teeth due to various reasons, such as decay, injury, or gum disease.
The dental implant procedure is typically divided into two main stages: the surgical phase and the restorative phase. Understanding these two stages is crucial for anyone considering dental implants. In this article, we will delve into the details of each stage to give you a comprehensive overview of the process.
Stage 1: Surgical Phase
The surgical phase of dental implant treatment involves the placement of the implant fixture into the jawbone. This fixture is an artificial tooth root, providing a solid foundation for the replacement tooth. During the surgical phase, you can expect the following:
- Consultation and Evaluation:
Before the surgical phase begins, you will have an initial consultation with your implant dentist or oral surgeon. They will evaluate your oral health, take X-rays or 3D scans, and discuss your treatment plan. It is essential to address any concerns or questions you may have during this phase.
- Tooth Extraction (if necessary):
In some cases, the tooth that needs replacement may still be in place. If it's compromised or damaged, it may need to be extracted before the implant surgery.
- Bone Grafting (if necessary):
In cases where the jawbone lacks sufficient density or thickness to support the implant, bone grafting may be required. This procedure involves adding bone material to the deficient area to create a suitable foundation for the implant.
- Implant Placement:
Once the jawbone is prepared, the implant fixture is s surgically placed into the bone. This is typically done under local anesthesia, and you may also have the option of sedation if you have anxiety or fear about the procedure. The implant is inserted into a small incision in the gum, and then the incision is closed with sutures.
- Healing Period:
After the implant placement, the jawbone needs time to heal and fuse with the implant in a process called osseointegration. This process can take several months, during which you will be given specific instructions on caring for the surgical site.
Stage 2: Restorative Phase
The restorative phase begins after the surgical site has fully healed and the implant has become stable within the jawbone. This phase focuses on creating and attaching the artificial tooth (crown) to the implant. Here's what to expect:
- Abutment Placement:
An abutment is a connector that is attached to the implant. It protrudes above the gum line and provides a stable base for the crown. In some cases, the abutment may be placed during the initial surgical phase. Still, it is often done separately after the implant has integrated with the bone.
- Impressions and Crown Fabrication:
Your dentist will take impressions of your mouth to create a custom-made crown that matches the size, shape, and color of your natural teeth. The dental laboratory will fabricate the crown based on these impressions.
- Crown Attachment:
Once the crown is ready, it is securely attached to the abutment. Your dentist will ensure the crown fits correctly and feels comfortable when you bite and chew. The crown is then permanently cemented in place.
- Final Adjustments and Check-ups:
Your dentist will make any necessary adjustments to ensure that the implant-supported crown functions correctly and looks natural. Regular follow-up appointments are essential to monitor the health of the implant and your overall oral health.
The two-stage dental implant procedure involves a surgical phase for implant placement and a restorative phase for crown attachment. Understanding the process, its stages, and the importance of proper aftercare is crucial for anyone considering dental implants. While the treatment may take several months from start to finish, the result is a stable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing solution for replacing missing teeth, which can significantly improve your quality of life and oral health. If you're considering dental implants, give us a call and talk to our dental implant specialist to discuss your specific needs and options.
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