What to Expect from Dental Implants

The process of getting dental implants can be fairly lengthy, and it's important to understand the process and steps involved before deciding whether or not it's the right treatment for you. 

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are the most popular tooth-replacement treatment option available. A dental implant is a total tooth replacement with a component that mimics a tooth's natural root system and a component that replaces the visible portion of the missing tooth, as well. 

Dental implants consist of three parts:

  • Implant Anchor - The implant anchor is a biocompatible metal screw-like dental prosthetic that is implanted directly into the jawbone. Its job is to anchor the tooth replacement the way a natural tooth is anchored by its natural roots. 
  • Abutment - The abutment is a biocompatible metal prosthetic that attaches the dental crown to the anchor. 
  • Dental Crown - The dental crown is a tooth-colored, porcelain tooth replacement that is designed to look, feel, and function just like your natural tooth. 

Dental implants offer a variety of benefits and advantages over other tooth-replacement treatment options. They are, by far, the most natural-looking and feeling treatment option available. Additionally, dental implants provide vital stimulation to your jawbone which helps to preserve your bone structure, keep your jawbone healthy and strong, and prevent your appearance from changing over time as a result of bone degeneration. 

Dental Implant Treatment Options

Dental implants are popular not just because they have several benefits but also because they are a versatile restorative treatment with a variety of options.

  • One-for-One Tooth Replacement - Dental implants can be used to replace individual teeth on a one-for-one replacement basis. 
  • Implant-Supported Dental Bridge - Dental implants can support a dental bridge that replaces multiple, consecutive missing teeth. 
  • Implant-Support Dentures - Four, six, or eight strategically placed dental implants can be used to support a denture to replace all of a patient's missing teeth when they are missing one or both entire rows. 

The Dental Implant Treatment Process: What to Expect When Getting Dental Implants

1. Initial Consultation

During the initial consultation, we examine your teeth and gums and take diagnostic images that help us assess your existing jawbone structure. With this information, we can design a treatment plan and outline the procedure steps and estimated time frame. 

2. Bone Grafting (If Needed) and Healing

Depending on the volume and strength of the existing jawbone mass, some patients require a bone graft before their implant can be placed. Bone grafts help to stimulate the growth of the jawbone to ensure there is adequate bone mass available to support a dental implant. 

After the bone grafting procedure, we monitor your healing and bone generation process. This step can take anywhere from a few months to a year for the jawbone to be ready for implant placement. 

3. Dental Implant Placement and Osseointegration

Once the patient is ready to receive a dental implant, we schedule the implant placement procedure. During this procedure, the implant anchor is inserted into the jawbone. These procedures always take place with patients under local anesthesia. Depending on the patient and the treatment plan, implant placement might also occur under oral sedation or general anesthesia. 

Following the implant placement, the patient undergoes another healing period. During this time, the jawbone grows up around the implant and osseointegrates, holding it securely in place. On average, this healing process takes about five months (lower jaw) or seven months (upper jaw). 

4. Healing Collar Placement

Once osseointegrated and fully healed from the implant placement, we schedule another procedure. During this procedure, we place a healing collar (a piece of round metal) around the top of the dental implant. This ensures that the gum tissue heals properly around the dental implant to facilitate the easy placement of the abutment. 

5. Abutment Placement

Once the gum tissues have healed fully around the healing collar, we remove the collar and place the abutment on top of your dental implant. We then fit you with a temporary dental crown while your permanent crown is custom-made in our dental lab. 

6. Dental Crown Placement

Once your permanent crown is ready, we have you come in for the final step of your tooth-replacement treatment, placing your dental crown. The crown is permanently affixed to the abutment with special dental cement. 

Find Out If Are Dental Implants the Right Restorative Treatment for You

If you're missing one or more of your teeth, you don't have to live with an incomplete smile. At Aesthetic Dentistry of Stuart, we have a wide variety of restorative treatment options, and our experienced team is here to help you find the one that will best meet your needs. To learn more about dental implants and smile restorative, we welcome you to contact our dental office in Stuart, Florida today. 

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