The part of your tooth that is showing above the gum-line is called a crown. The part below the gum-line on the other hand, is called a root. Aside from physical trauma to the mouth, other factors such as decay, gingivitis or gum disease, and periodontitis can cause your teeth to fall out. Without natural teeth to support your face, it will start to sag, and you will look older. You may also have difficulty eating without a complete set of teeth.
A dental implant is a healthy way of replacing your missing teeth, individually or as a group. An artificial root and crown will be inserted into the bone of your jaw to make it look new again. Usually, bone grafting is done if there is not enough bone support for the new, artificial tooth.
How Is a Dental Implant Procedure Done?
Whether you have one tooth or more missing teeth, the procedure for dental implants is done the same. You will see in this example that only one tooth is missing, and that we are assuming the patient is healthy.
Step 1. Preparation of the Implant Site
The gum tissue where a tooth once sat is cleaned and opened. This is to expose the bone where the implant is to be fitted. A special drill is used to create a hole that will receive the implant.
Step 2. Placing the Implant
A screw-like implant made from titanium stubs will be inserted inside the drilled hole. The gum tissue surrounding the bone will be sutured. After one to two weeks of surgery, the sutures will be removed.
Step 3. Osseointegration
Osseointegration is the process of bonding the jawbone with the dental implants. It takes three months minimum and six months maximum for this to happen. Within this period, healing is expected.
Step 4. Attaching the Post
After the healing process is successful, a post is attached onto the implant. This will serve as support for the artificial crown that will be affixed later. Special posts have zirconium abutments in them so they will make the crown look like a natural one. Zirconium abutments provide a translucency effect to the artificial crown.
Step 5. Attaching the Crown
The artificial crown can now be finally attached onto the post, and cemented for stability. Artificial crowns are shaded to mimic the color of your natural teeth. This will make the crown appear as a natural part of your teeth.
Dental Implant Applications
Dental implants are usually applied as a treatment plan focused on replacing several teeth. It is costly, so many patients prefer to have implants one at a time.
On the other hand, it is simply applied to treat single tooth loss as well. Other treatments are applied in combination with other procedures such as dentures and bridges.
If you think you need a dental implant, consult your dentist. There are many factors to consider before you get one.