Replacing missing teeth is crucial to preserving your oral health. To support a tooth replacement, your dentist may need to place a dental implant. Here, our Edmonton dentists explain the dental implant procedure.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that your dentist surgically places into your jaw bone to support a tooth replacement, such as a dental crown, dental bridge, or dentures.
Together, a dental implant and a tooth replacement look and act very much like a natural tooth.
The two components of a dental implant are a titanium rod that is inserted into the jawbone to mimic a tooth's root and an abutment that attaches to the rod to support the artificial tooth replacement.
The Dental Implant Procedure
Sometimes, it is possible to place dental implants on the same day as the teeth are extracted but usually, it takes three to six months of healing before you are ready for the implant to be placed. Your dentist will be able to provide a more specific timeline based on your needs and treatment plan.
Typically, the procedure will take two appointments to complete. During the first visit, the dentist will begin the implant procedure by surgically placing the titanium rod into your jaw bone beneath the gum tissue. Then they will stitch the gum tissue back into place.
As the tissue heals, the implant will bond with the bone and attach to the gum. The healing process could take up to several months.
Once your gum tissue has healed, your dentist will attach the abutment to the rod at the second appointment. Finally, they will attach a tooth replacement to the abutment.
This procedure will result in an artificial tooth that looks and functions much like a natural tooth.
In cases where there might not be enough jaw bone volume to support an implant, bone graft surgery may be required so implants can be placed later.
Many patients are concerned about how painful the dental implant procedure will be. Although every patient has a different threshold for pain, the majority won't likely feel particularly uncomfortable both during and after the procedure. Your dentist will give you the chance to go over your anesthesia preferences and plan your procedure accordingly.
Typically, dental implant placement is completed using local anesthesia.
Why use a dental implant?
If you're missing one or more teeth, dental implants can be used to address a number of issues and protect your oral health.
Through the use of a dental implant and a tooth replacement, such as a dental bridge, dental crown, or dentures, you can correct any bite problems or jaw pain, as well as enhance chewing, speech, and digestion. This procedure can also help prevent the "sunken face" appearance that missing teeth can frequently cause.
Wondering whether you'll be able to chew normally? Typically, chewing has been shown to improve after treatment. After a brief period of adapting to your new implants, chewing efficiency for most patients is similar to that of natural teeth.
How long will my dental implant last?
A dental implant can last many years with proper care. It will be crucial to practice good oral hygiene at home, such as brushing and flossing and to make regular appointments with your dentist for an examination and cleaning. Nutrition, genetics, or the emergence of any dental diseases are additional variables that may affect the durability of dental implants.