More than 120 million people in the United States are missing one or more teeth, according to the American College of Prosthodontists. A dental implant is a type of medical device that is surgically implanted in the jaw to restore a person’s smile and ability to chew normally. Dental implants provide support for artificial teeth, such as bridges, dentures, or crowns.
Regardless of how teeth were lost, it can act as a permanent replacement
Dental implants are designed to feel, look, and function like natural teeth. This enables those patients to smile with confidence. Learn more about dental implants and why so many people are choosing implants over alternative restorations.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a screw-like device that replaces a missing tooth. They act as artificial tooth roots that create a permanent base for replacement teeth. Dental implants are typically constructed from titanium, which makes them feel comfortable and secure. Over time, the implant fuses to the living bone cells in the jaw, meaning no movement or slippage, which can sometimes happen with dentures. Dental implants also allow patients to eat normally.
Dental implants consist of three main oral components:
- Implant – This is the screw that serves as the tooth root for the artificial tooth. The implant permanently attaches to the jaw.
- Abutment – This is the connector that supports the new tooth or set of teeth. The abutment is permanent but can be removed by your dentist.
- Crown – This is the prosthetic tooth or the part of the tooth that you can see. Most crowns are constructed from porcelain or zirconium for durability and appearance purposes.
How Is Oral Surgery Performed?
The dental implant surgery process generally starts with an assessment. Your dentist will evaluate your mouth to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. A good candidate is someone who has at least some healthy bone material in which to place the dental implant. Patients who lack adequate bone material may be a candidate for a mini implant or bone grafting to improve the amount of healthy bone at the implant site.
Next, your dentist will place the implant, followed by a temporary crown. From start to finish, this procedure takes approximately an hour for a single implant. Your dentist may suggest taking over-the-counter pain relievers to help manage any discomfort that you may experience in the first few days.
Your mouth will need time to heal before a permanent crown can be placed. This healing process can extend several months. Once sufficient healing has taken place, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and attach an abutment to the dental implant. Finally, a permanent crown is placed.